A Moment for Reflection

1/06/2013 04:34:00 PM
Representative Steve King, republican of Iowa, has proposed legislation that would deprive citizenship to a class of people who were born in the United States. From the Bill:
(b) Definition- Acknowledging the right of birthright citizenship established by section 1 of the 14th amendment to the Constitution, a person born in the United States shall be considered `subject to the jurisdiction' of the United States for purposes of subsection (a)(1) if the person is born in the United States of parents, one of whom is--
`(1) a citizen or national of the United States;
`(2) an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States whose residence is in the United States; or
`(3) an alien performing active service in the armed forces (as defined in section 101 of title 10, United States Code).'.

Lets just take a moment to reflect. The fourteenth amendment was enacted to prevent the law from depriving descendants of slaves the right to citizenship, both of the United States, and of the state where they live. The slaves were brought to the united states--some of them illegally--to work as a source of cheap labor on the plantations. That's basically what we've been doing with certain classes of immigrants today.

This act isn't merely a technical violation of the amendment. It doesn't clarify the enforcement of the amendment. Rather, it enacts a law that is contrary to the whole intent and purpose of the amendment.

Remember that many of the slaves in the US were brought to the United States after we enacted a prohibition on the importation of slaves. That means that they were technically illegal immigrants. This bill technically won't deny the citizenship of their descendants because it allows them to be grandfathered in (Alas, the very notion of a "grandfather clause" is a Jim Crow invention!). But that's not the point--the type of individuals that the fourteenth amendment was designed to protect is identical to those that this bill seeks to persecute. And frankly, this is not something of the past: the United States remains today the single largest destination for human trafficking in the world. And these unfortunate people are often forced into prostitution, making pregnancy a common occurrence. Yet if Steve King gets his way, the law will deny protections to those born in this country into illegal slavery--the very same class of people that the fourteenth amendment aims to protect. But again, that's not the point either. These are mere examples. The bill is wrong on its own merits--it exists for the sole purpose to discriminate against a whole class of people in the united states. It aims to treat people as less than human because of where their mothers came from.

This isn't a usual post for this blog. But I just wanted to take some time to reflect. This bill is cold-blooded. A deeply racist and unconstitutional measure aimed to afford old white men a false sense of security.