GOP Campaign Against Birthright Citizenship Falling Flat
The Republican campaign against birthright citizenship doesn't seem to be gaining the kind of support they expected.
Despite all the noise that many Republican Senators have been making recently about revising the 14th Amendment to deal with the supposed problem of “anchor babies,” there’s little evidence that it’s resonating with the public or those immigration advocates on either side of the issue:
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R) says America faces a new and growing foreign threat: illegal immigrants and tourists who come to here for the express purpose of giving birth so their children obtain citizenship.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and other top Republicans quickly jumped on the issue and called for hearings.
The senators said their concerns arose from recent reports of a burgeoning “birth tourism” industry, which helps expectant mothers abroad travel to the United States to deliver their babies. They also said that birthright citizenship, which is granted by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, could provide an incentive for people to enter the country illegally.
The sudden support cheered anti-immigration hard-liners who have been pushing to do away with birthright citizenship for years, but the senators face a problem: Few others want to take up the issue, and it is almost assuredly going nowhere.
Even some of the most vocal critics of the country’s permissive immigration laws are skeptical of the efforts, which they say are particularly emotionally charged because they affect children and families.
“We don’t think that it is worth the political capital to initiate a debate on this issue,” said Jon Feere, legal policy analyst for the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that backs stricter immigration policies.
“The energy spent on ending birthright citizenship might be better spent reducing illegal immigration through a commitment to immigration law enforcement generally. If illegal immigration is ended, the problem of birthright citizenship for children of illegal aliens disappears.”
Also, even some advocates for reforming birthright citizenship are recognizing that this recent call for hearings by top GOP Senators is, as I argued yesterday, little more than a political ploy:
“My organization would say there should be a change on the horizon, but not in the way Lindsey Graham is talking about it,” said Rosemary Jenks, director of governmental relations for the nonprofit NumbersUSA, the leading group opposed to birthright citizenship. “I do think it is political. . . . What we need is a serious discussion of the actual issues, not a lot of political ploys. “
Of course, this being Washington in an election year, we’re not going to get that. Instead, what we’ll get are Republicans talking about amendment the 14th Amendment something that will never happen. Yet, I expect Graham and the GOP to continue pushing this idea despite the rather obvious consequences that would result and despite the fact that, in reality, it would actually make the “undocument persons” problem bigger:
“It’s puzzling that they would propose this, because it would add to the undocumented population,” said Bill O. Hing, a professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law who has represented undocumented immigrants. “I really think they lose sight of who these children are and what they become. . . . They very quickly become assimilated.”
Honestly, given that this is all a political ploy, I don’t believe that they care.