Texas Is Being Sued For Refusing To Issue Birth Certificates To American Citizens

Despite the clear language of the 14th Amendment, Texas is apparently refusing to issue birth certificates to some children born in the United States whose parents happen to be in the country illegally.

illegal immigrants

In a move that clearly seems to be a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, the State of Texas is apparently refusing to issue birth certificate to children born in the United States whose parents are here illegally:

A number of undocumented immigrants and their children have filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Texas for what they say is a policy designed to deny their U.S.-born children birth certificates.

“Defendants have acted with the intent to discriminate against the Texas-born children on the basis of their parents’ immigrations status, depriving the children of their rights, benefits and privileges granted to all other citizen children,” the complaint says. “Defendants have also acted with the intent of discriminating against undocumented parents on the basis of their immigration status, penalizing them and making their personal/family lives near untenable.”

Lawyers from Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, the Texas Civil Rights Project and the South Texas Civil Rights Project are representing the challengers in the lawsuit, which is being brought against Kirk Cole, the Texas Department of State Health Service’s Vital Statistics Unit commissioner, and Geraldine Harris, the unit chief. The suit started with four mothers,according to the Texas Observer, but has now expanded to well over a dozen parents who say they were denied birth certificates for their U.S. born children.

According to the complaint, undocumented immigrants had previously been able to use a “matricula consular” — a type of ID granted to immigrants by the consulates of their home countries — to meet the requirements to acquire a birth certificate for their U.S.-born children. However, in recent years, officials have stopped accepting matriculas, the complaint alleges, and around 2013 rejection of the matricula became widely enforced. Texas has also not offered an alternative route for the immigrants, according to the challengers, knowing that most undocumented immigrants don’t have to access to the other types of ID that can be used to acquire birth certificates. Foreign passports are only accepted in conjunction with a U.S. visas, for instance.

The complaint says that a vital statistic officer admitted the policy was changed to make it more difficult for U.S. citizen children of undocumented immigrants to receive birth certificates.

“By denying Plaintiff children their birth certificates, Defendants have a category of second-class citizens, disadvantaged from childhood on with respect to health and educational opportunities,” the complaint said. “All Plaintiffs suffered and will continue to suffer irreparable harm. Defendants knew and intended their actions would result in such harm.”

(…)

The complaint says Texas’ actions are at odds with the 14th Amendment, which guarantees children born on U.S. soil citizenship. The suit also accuses Texas of violating the Constitution’s equal protection clause, as the policy discriminates against the immigrants and their children on the basis of the mothers’ origins, as well as the supremacy clause, which says federal law on immigration and citizenship trumps state policy.

As noted, Texas is apparently using as an excuse for the change in policy that is making it harder for immigrants from Mexico and Central America to get birth certificates for their children the idea that the consular documents that they are relying may or may not be genuine. On it’s surface, though, this clearly seems to be a flimsy excuse that doesn’t withstand much scrutiny. For one thing, it would be interesting to find out if Health Department officers in Texas have the same policy regarding consular documents from other nations, such as Canada or European nations. Obviously, there aren’t likely to be as many children born in Texas whose parents are citizens of these countries, but it’s not inconceivable that it could happen and if the state is willing to take similar documents from other nations than there is really no basis to refuse to accept similar documents from Mexico or Central America. Additionally, the admission noted above from a state official that the decision to stop accepting consular documents from certain counties was motivated by the desire to make it harder for children born in the United States to get birth certificates is an extremely damming admission. If it can be proven to the satisfaction of a Federal Judge, it may well be all the Plaintiffs really need to put into evidence to rebut any claims that Texas makes regarding a “rational basis” for the refusal to accept documents that it had been accepting before.

As a matter of law, of course, this is a fairly easy issue. The Fourteenth Amendment makes it clear that, outside of a few minor exceptions that apply to the children of diplomats stationed in the United States, every person born in the territory of the United States is a citizen from the moment they are  born regardless of the citizenship of their parents. This comes from  Section One of the 14th Amendment, which says:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside

Three decades later, the Supreme Court dealt with the meaning of this provision in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898), where it said:

[T]he Fourteenth Amendment affirms the ancient and fundamental rule of citizenship by birth within the territory, in the allegiance and under the protection of the country, including all children here born of resident aliens, with the exceptions or qualifications (as old as the rule itself) of children of foreign sovereigns or their ministers, or born on foreign public ships, or of enemies within and during a hostile occupation of part of our territory, and with the single additional exception of children of members of the Indian tribes owing direct allegiance to their several tribes. The Amendment, in clear words and in manifest intent, includes the children born, within the territory of the United States, of all other persons, of whatever race or color, domiciled within the United States. Every citizen or subject of another country, while domiciled here, is within the allegiance and the protection, and consequently subject to the jurisdiction, of the United States.

(…)

The evident intention, and the necessary effect, of the submission of this case to the decision of the court upon the facts agreed by the parties were to present for determination the single question stated at the beginning of this opinion, namely, whether a child born in the United States, of parent of Chinese descent, who, at the time of his birth, are subjects of the Emperor of China, but have a permanent domicil and residence in the United States, and are there carrying on business, and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the Emperor of China, becomes at the time of his birth a citizen of the United States.

The Court’s ruling in Wong Kim Ark would seem to be in line not only with the plain language of the Amendment, but also, comments made y one of the framers of the 14th Amendment when it was first pending in Congress:

The author of the 14th Amendment, Senator Jacob Merritt Howard of Michigan proposed the addition of the jurisdiction phrase and stated that it tracked what he believed was already the law of the land. As such, he stated,“This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the family of ambassadors, or foreign ministers accredited to the the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.”

Not surprisingly, of course, the idea of “birthright citizenship” is one that has come under attack from the anti-immigration wing of the Republican Party over the past several years. Five years ago, Lindsey Graham was floating the idea of altering the 14th Amendment’s language in such as way that children of illegal immigrants would not receive citizenship at birth, and even John Boehner, who at that point had not yet become Speaker of the House, was speaking positively about “reviewing” the 14th Amendment’s language and the issue of birthright citizenship. At that time, of course, it was apparent that much of this rhetoric was just pandering to anti-immigrant groups and that there was obviously no real chance that a Republican controlled Congress would “amend” the 14th Amendment in any way. Despite that, after the Republican victory in the 2010 elections, there were moves by these groups to challenge birthright citizenship on both the state and Federal levels. In the Senate, Rand Paul and David Vitter even introduced a bill that would attempted to bring an end to birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants without actually amending the Constitution. These, and most of the other proposals before Congress died out without any real action being taken. However, there’s been a renewed focus on the birthright citizenship issue on the right, and part has been the argument, legally dubious though it may be, that states really aren’t obligated to issue birth certificates to the children of illegal immigrants. This lawsuit in Texas, and the apparent motive behind the new document policy there, seems to be part of that.

The lawsuit was filed in May and there doesn’t appear to have been any action in the matter yet, although that is typical for these types of cases. The law, however, seems to be exceedingly clear on this issue and unless Texas changes its policy it is likely setting itself up for a big loss here.

Here’s the Complaint:

Perales Serenas et al v. Texas Dept. of Health Services by Doug Mataconis

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Law and the Courts, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that the great state of Texas wants to treat it’s 2nd class citizens as 2nd class citizens. Who’da thunk it?

  2. humanoid.panda says:

    Constitutional conservatism FTW.

  3. stonetools says:

    Heh, someone tell me again that the Republican Party isn’t playing to anti-Hispanic bigotry as official policy. Is there even a dime’s worth of difference between Trump’s rhetoric and official Republican policy? Maybe what Rafael told Trump today was “Look, we’re on aboard with you already. Just tone it down and don’t be so d@mned obvious. It’s bad for business.”

  4. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Geez, it’s like Texas is saying that Mexican Matricula Consulars are horribly unsecure documents or something…

  5. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “Geez, it’s like Texas is saying that Mexican Matricula Consulars are horribly unsecure documents or something…”

    No, it’s like saying that newborn American citizens aren’t really citizens because Republicans don’t like their parents.

    But it’s nice to know that little Jenos is on the record in favor a policy under which any elected government gets to decide which citizens are actually citizens.

  6. ernieyeball says:

    If this attack on The United States Constitution is successful would it not be easier for State or Federal government officials to refuse to issue other documents at their whim? Gun permits, for instance could be refused to, oh, I don’t know, Black citizens maybe?
    Or the Right to Vote be denied women?
    How about the right to Trial by Jury? Or any trial at all?
    “You! Rag Head. We are going to detain you with no hope of release untill you die.” “We will give you a body bag to sleep in on the prison floor.”
    Not a chance. The Constitution protects us from such abuses.
    Some of us anyway.

  7. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: If you can’t provide a route by which these children can be affirmed as citizens, then you are indeed depriving them of their Constitutional rights.

    Sort of like how it was easy for kidnappers to grab dark-skinned people who were free above the Mason-Dixon line and sell them as slaves down in the South.

  8. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: Texas, technically, is saying that a certain document that has notorious security issues and strongly associated with fraud is not an acceptable legal form of identification. One of the effects of that action is that illegal aliens who have had an “anchor baby” are finding themselves inconvenienced.

    Here’s a compromise. The parents are deported, and the child is either placed with legal relatives in the US, put up for adoption, fostered until a legal guardian can be found, or sent home with the parents and their US citizenship papers. That sound fair to you?

    Or do you have to, once again, make up provably false shit about me so you can pretend that I conform to the narrow little stereotypes that represent the limits of your narrow little mind?

  9. Scott says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Sort of like how it was easy for kidnappers to grab dark-skinned people who were free above the Mason-Dixon line and sell them as slaves down in the South.

    Unfortunately, under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, that was legal. The Act, part of the Great Compromise of 1850, was the price extracted by the slave owners for the admittance of California to the US. It, arguably, inflamed abolitionists so much that the momentum toward civil war was accelerated.

  10. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “Texas, technically, is saying that a certain document that has notorious security issues and strongly associated with fraud is not an acceptable legal form of identification. One of the effects of that action is that illegal aliens who have had an “anchor baby” are finding themselves inconvenienced.”

    Sorry, you nasty little racist troll, but it doesn’t matter who the parents are. The baby is born in the United States, and therefore is a citizen, even if Texas doesn’t like his or her parents’ I.D.

    And I sincerely hope you use the disgusting phrase “anchor baby” in a heavily Hispanic neighborhood some day and find out just how loathesome it is to anyone who isn’t a sanctimonious bigot.

  11. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: Boy, you must wear out a thesaurus a week finding new ways to yell “RAAAAACIST!!!!!!1111!!!”

    I was working up a whole series of arguments to show just how stupid your position is (and, by extension, you are), but it simply isn’t worth my time. I’ll save it for someone who actually might be able to grasp it.

    Idjit.

  12. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Um, it kind of seems like you were trying extra hard to earn it today.

  13. Pete S says:

    And I am sure there is no relationship at all between Republicans being lied to by their Presidential candidates and media sources (previous post) and Republican politicians bringing in clearly ridiculous interpretations of laws to keep their base voters happy……

  14. C. Clavin says:

    It sees like any elected official doing this, who swore to uphold the constitution, would be impeachable…and any attorney involved would subject to disbarment.

  15. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David M: Here, let me make the argument that would have been wasted on the maroon.

    A child is born in the US to illegal aliens. The child is, obviously, an American citizen. What to do now?

    1) Deport the entire family? Can’t kick out an American citizen.

    2) Deport the parents, keep the child? Can’t separate the child from the parents.

    So, the parents stay because the child has citizenship. Hence the term “anchor baby” — the baby, through its citizenship, is their “anchor” to stay in the country despite their illegal status.

    Now we have two immigrants in the US who are technically illegal, but are being allowed to stay. We have quotas governing how many immigrants we accept each year. Do we count these against that total, or not?

    If we count them, then we decrease the slots available to legal immigrants. We’re punishing those who are trying to get in here legally, and rewarding those who came here illegally.

    If we don’t count them, then we have a fixed number of legal immigrants and a theoretically unlimited number of illegals. We are encouraging people to ignore the established procedures.

    Now, we have the parents here and with now-legal status. Can they work legally? Well, they have to support that American citizen. Or we can put them on public welfare. Once again, we’re rewarding their initial illegal status.

    So they stay here for the child. Once the child is 18 (and any subsequent children reach that age), can we deport them then? Why, at that point they’ve been here legally and (perhaps, if they’re smart) kept themselves out of trouble. It would be inhumane to kick them out now!

    Congrats. You’ve created a second pathway to immigration that begins with the immigrants choosing to ignore the existing law and jump ahead of those who are following the law.

    Basic economics says that whatever you subsidize, you get more of. You’ve just subsidized an alternate path to immigration that is actually faster and more effective than the legally-prescribed means. Bravo!

  16. Tony W says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: You disagree with the law. Got it. Lobby your congress-critter for a change to the constitution.

    In the meantime what do we do about the criminals who are breaking the law and not issuing birth certificates?

    In other words, is prison just for crack and meth dealers??

  17. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    A child is born in the US to illegal aliens. The child is, obviously, an American citizen. What to do now?

    You typed a lot of extra nonsense words, when the only acceptable answer is quite short: Give the American citizen a birth certificate.

  18. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Now, we have the parents here and with now-legal status.

    WTF? Where did you get your JD? From a Cheerios box?

  19. Dave Schuler says:

    I can see how one could happen to have parents who were in the country illegally but it’s not clear to me how your parents could happen to be in the country illegally. Could you offer an example that perhaps fits the majority of cases?

  20. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: I don’t need any other word: It’s racist. One a. And in this case, it’s defined as someone who refers to his fellow US citizens as “anchor babies,” as if they have any less right to be here than you do.

    I’d actually say they have more. Because when a baby excretes massive amounts of disgusting filth, he generally does it into a diaper… and he does it because he hasn’t learned how not to. You have no such excuse.

  21. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Of course nothing of that has anything to do with the crap you posted about insecure documents.

  22. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    A child is born in the US to illegal aliens. The child is, obviously, an American citizen.

    And Texas is breaking the law by denying that. Thank you for playing.

  23. walt moffett says:

    When Texas loses this court case, wonder how much will be awarded in attorney fees and how many Cadillac pickups that will convert to.

  24. KM says:

    @mantis @David M:

    Really. I mean, can you imagine going into court saying “Ok yes we know and admit they are a citizen by law but here’s why that doesn’t matter!” as your default position? Admit committing a major crime (de facto denial of citizenship) willingly but then spending god knows how long arguing everybody should be cool with it since it **might** stop a different lesser crime (illegal immigration)?

    I sincerely hope whatever judge gets this case brings beer and popcorn for the courtroom since the stupidity and logic fail for this to even be discussed will be EPIC. Their basic premise starts off with “our opponents are right” for god’s sake!!

  25. humanoid.panda says:

    @Scott:

    Unfortunately, under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, that was legal. The Act, part of the Great Compromise of 1850, was the price extracted by the slave owners for the admittance of California to the US. It, arguably, inflamed abolitionists so much that the momentum toward civil war was accelerated.

    Not exactly: the FSA set up commissions which were charged with figuring out whether given African American was escaped slave or free citizen of a Northern State. However, the judges that made the determination were paid twice as much money if they found for the slave owner. Remember kids, the Civil War was all about states’ rights!

  26. Neil Hudelson says:

    @mantis:

    I’ve noticed Jenos’s tactic as of late is to admit he’s completely wrong, then hope no one notices.

  27. Mu says:

    Simple solution: As Texas is not issuing birth certificates to all citizens born there, Texas birth certificates are no longer acceptable as proof of citizenship. Any Texan will be deported unless he can provide two witnesses to his birth in the state.
    Joke aside, why does the paperwork of the parents even matter? Assume a pregnant woman is brought to a hospital unconscious, the baby is delivered and the woman dies without gaining conscience. Is the kid now not a citizen because the woman didn’t carry ID?

  28. Jack says:

    Similar to “Prosecutorial Discretion”, Texas is participating in “Selective Discretion”. If DOJ and DHS can get away with it, why not Texas.

  29. michael reynolds says:

    I’m a bit at odds with some of my friends on the left (and libertarians) in that I think:

    1) We have a perfect right to decide who does and who does not enter this country.

    2) I don’t doubt that the “anchor baby” phenomenon is real, but it’s so tiny a thing as to be irrelevant to much of anything.

    3) We should tune our immigration policies with the goal of improving the lot of US citizens, with a secondary goal of humanitarian assistance.

    4) We should recognize the reality which is that without Mexicans and Salvadorans this country would grind to a halt in five minutes.

    5) It is likely true that illegals depress wages, but it’s also likely true that the wages thus depressed are their own and those of other recent immigrants.

    6) We need to decide the issue rationally, without right-wing racism or left-wing sentimentality.

    The solution to illegal workers is obvious and inexpensive: a national ID card, required for any work, electronically verifiable from any telephone, with significant penalties for non-complying employers. Not that hard. Really.

    We can do that in a year. It still leaves us to decide who and how many we want to let in, but Mexicans and Salvadorans don’t come here for the weather, they come for work. Cut off access to work and the illegal immigration rate will drop like a stone, as it did during the recession. Easy peasy. No need for billion dollar walls, no need to separate families, no need for any further action. Place a barrier between illegal immigrant and the possibility of work and the whole problem goes away.

    So, why aren’t Republicans advancing this simple approach? Hint #1: corporate profits. Hint #2: racism.

  30. Jack says:

    @Tony W:

    In the meantime what do we do about the criminals who are breaking the law…

    Like Holder and Obama?

    Oh, so it’s OK for federal officials to break the law, just not state officials. Got it.

  31. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “6) We need to decide the issue rationally, without right-wing racism or left-wing sentimentality”

    You jump right from this to the ID card, but I think you missed a crucial step in between:

    We need to decide whether or not we want these people in this country doing this work. And then we have to decide that if we say yes, we have to admit it, and accept that there are costs to having people do our labor for little money. We have to accept the fact we have to pay to educate their children, to give them health care, to give them social services. We have to agree that if we want the benefits we have to pay the costs, and stop pretending that we can allow people into our country to work for less-than-survival wages and have no further obligation to them.

    Alternatively, if we decide we want them all gone, then we have to acknowledge and accept the costs — financial and human — of deporting them.

    Either way, we have to stop pretending that whatever we want is free, and what the other guy wants costs too much.

  32. grumpy realist says:

    @Scott: There were also cases where dark-skinned people who had always been free were grabbed and kidnapped and sold as slaves, because they couldn’t prove that they had been born free.

    Just as I think little Jenos would have a different attitude towards all of this were there a high possibility of his getting yanked off the street and being forced to prove that he was born in the US. Got your birth certificate with you, Jenos?

  33. Ron Beasley says:

    @michael reynolds: The asparagus farmers in Eastern Washington lost over 70% of their crop because the illegals that used to harvest it had been scared off. They tried to bring in some unemployed Americans but they were physically unable to do the job. If we deported all of the illegals we would starve to death.

  34. JohnMcC says:

    @michael reynolds: I have long advocated a real national I.D. card that could really prove your identity should be a normal thing to use to turn on the lights in a new apartment, open an account or take a course let alone get a new job and it would of course be simple control on immigration. Never really understood the conservative aversion to a real national I.D. that they would have to carry.

  35. Rafer Janders says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    They tried to bring in some unemployed Americans but they were physically unable to do the job.

    Did they try to pay more? Because in most industries, if you want more and better-qualified labor, you pay for it.

    And look, it’s simply not the case that Americans are physically unable to do work that Central Americans do. On the face of its that’s absurd. What they are not able — or willing — to do is that kind of work under the poor working conditions, and at the low pay, that illegal immigrants are willing to accept.

  36. gVOR08 says:

    @JohnMcC: It isn’t just conservatives.There’s been a real thing that unlike Nazis or Commies we don’t do “papers please” in America. An American can go where he wants and do what he wants without permission. I have some lingering fondness for that attitude.

  37. Grumpy Realist says:

    @Rafer Janders: yes, I always find it hilarious that for a lot of conservatives the demand-supply curves are only supposed to benefit the employer, never the laborer.

    Witness the incessant number of articles written in the Washington Post about the poor, unfortunate employers who can’t find people with the technical background they want…to which my response is: add another $50k to the salary you’re offering and try again, you nitwits.

  38. Tony W says:

    @Jack: Pray do tell what law Mr. Obama and Mr. Holder have ‘broken’. Only one rule to make it equivalent – make sure the fact of breaking that law is undisputed by both Conservatives and Democrats.

    Face it – your argument is that you think babies of foreign parents who are born in the US should not get citizenship, and because you think that, you support people breaking the law.

    The more interesting question is “why do you think babies born in the US should not get automatic citizenship?” What is different about those babies vs., say the white ones born down the road from you at the local hospital in Anytown, Flyover, USA?

  39. stonetools says:

    @michael reynolds:

    the solution to illegal workers is obvious and inexpensive: a national ID card, required for any work, electronically verifiable from any telephone, with significant penalties for non-complying employers. Not that hard. Really.

    The bolded part is by far the hardest part , because businesses will resist being penalized. I’m sure you can already write the Republican talking points “Big Gumint regulation hobbling our brave job creators”, etc, etc, etc.

  40. ernieyeball says:

    …a national ID card, required for any work, electronically verifiable from any telephone,..

    Isn’t this a little behind the times?
    Retinal scans have been around for a while.

    Retinal scanners are typically used for authentication and identification purposes. Retinal scanning has been utilized by several government agencies including the FBI, CIA, and NASA. However, in recent years, retinal scanning has become more commercially popular. Retinal scanning has been used in prisons, for ATM identity verification and the prevention of welfare fraud.
    WikiP

    And RFID (chip implants like Rover gets) are available.

    The first reported experiments with an RFID implant were carried out in 1998 by the British scientist Kevin Warwick. His implant was used to open doors, switch on lights, and cause verbal output within a building. After nine days the implant was removed and has since been held in the Science Museum (London).[citation needed]

    On 16 March 2009 British scientist Mark Gasson had an advanced glass capsule RFID device surgically implanted into his left hand. In April 2010 Gasson’s team demonstrated how a computer virus could wirelessly infect his implant and then be transmitted on to other systems. Gasson reasoned that with implanted technology the separation between man and machine can become theoretical because the technology can be perceived by the human as being a part of their body. Because of this development in our understanding of what constitutes our body and its boundaries he became credited as being the first human infected by a computer virus. He has no plans to remove his implant.
    Wiki Pee

    Since it will take a while to build this bionic database we should without delay begin a program which will require all newborns to have their Federal Insurance Contributions Act number tattooed on their posteriors at birth.
    Might want to do this with everyone.
    It could be more difficult to hack!

  41. michael reynolds says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    What they are not able — or willing — to do is that kind of work under the poor working conditions, and at the low pay, that illegal immigrants are willing to accept.

    Exactly. which is why @wr: was quite right to point out:

    You jump right from this to the ID card, but I think you missed a crucial step in between:
    We need to decide whether or not we want these people in this country doing this work.

    Push illegals out of the market and you don’t get Americans picking strawberries, you get Turks. In Turkey. Or you get automation. Those jobs either leave the country or are taken by machines. This country is so utterly dishonest in its dealings with undocumented Mexicans and Salvadorans it’s amazing. They’re screwing us? Just amazing.

  42. michael reynolds says:

    @ernieyeball:

    Did you just tech-shame me?

    You totally tech-shamed me.

  43. ernieyeball says:

    So, you don’t have any tattoos on your ass?

  44. MarkedMan says:

    Two things:
    First, and I can’t believe I’m arguing to Jenos, that’s not how the illegal alien anchor baby scam is supposed to work. The parents can be deported, and any dependent children are deported with them, regardless of citizenship. At 18 years, the natural born child can file to declare US citizenship and renounce all other citizenships (unless in the case of countries, such as Ireland, who can have dual citizenship with the US). The child moves to the US. After a certain number of years here, gainfully employed, they can petition to have their parents come here to live with them. There may be a waiting list, I’m not sure. In any case, it’s something like 25 years after the child was born

    Second, having described why the whole illegal immigrant anchor baby thing is bogus, I’ll tell you about the real anchor babies. Wealthy families from despotic countries sometimes deliberately have a child in the US or another democratic country with similar policies. This can serve as an investment in the future if they ever need to get out of the country. But all the despotic countries in the world added together can’t add up to the number of Chinese anchor babies born this way. Because in addition to the despotic country, China has a one child policy. But, de facto, this is a one child citizen policy. If the child has citizenship in another country, it doesn’t count. It can’t get public schooling or get a houkou (permanent residency permit) anywhere in China, but remember, these are wealthy families. They don’t expect their kids to go to public school or need to get a job. I’m not speculating here. There were a number of these kids at the international school in Shanghai my children attended.

  45. michael reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:
    That is actually fascinating, both paragraphs. Thanks.

  46. Matt says:
  47. Dumb Brit says:

    @humanoid.panda:
    Had thunk’d that FTW was maybe an anagram of WTF. Having now checked the Urban Dictionary I now know it’s For The Win, but in the future will still hold the thought that it has a big WTF Element!

  48. Mikey says:

    @Matt: Neat graphic, and from my experience quite accurate.

    My wife was born and raised in Germany. We got married and moved to the States, she decided to stay here and become an American citizen. We went through the application process (itself quite a pain) and waited for the call for her to take the citizenship exam.

    And waited.

    And waited.

    I called every few weeks–just as the immigration service website says–to check status. No change, no change, no idea WTF is going on. I kept track of all these calls, of course.

    One day I mentioned to my boss that things seemed to be taking a bit too long, and he said “That’s ridiculous. An acquaintance of mine is an immigration lawyer. I’ll get in touch with him and see if he can find out what the deal is.” A few days later I got a call from the lawyer and gave him the details (dates, times, etc.) of the many calls I’d made.

    A couple weeks later we finally get notified that my wife needs to go back to the processing center and get her fingerprints done again because the first ones they did were more than a year old and therefore no longer valid (which tells you how long we’d been waiting). So we did that, and not long after got an appointment for the citizenship exam, and finally a naturalization ceremony. Hooray! And it only took 18 months.

    Not two weeks later we saw on the news that the official who ran the processing center my wife went through had been fired and arrested for taking bribes. “Well, no wonder we waited so long,” she said, “we didn’t slip that guy a Benjamin…”

  49. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: An WHITE American can go where he wants and do what he wants without permission.

    FTFY, I’ll send you a bill.

  50. grumpy realist says:

    @Mikey: Our immigration system is a complete mess. I had a boyfriend who needed to get a Green Card and the wife of one of my friends immigrated here from South America, so I’ve seen (and heard) the entire horrible situation.

    As far as I can tell, take the mentality of the worst HR department, cross it with the “EFF-YOU” attitude of a Soviet bureaucracy, and you get our immigration system….

  51. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Too true. Correction accepted.

  52. Mu says:

    The anchor baby explanation is half right – currently it takes 25 years from the date of application to get a green card for parents. And you can’t apply until 18. There used to be a category for brothers and sisters, that was closed by 2000 or so due to excessive (more than 25 years) waitlist. But this is only relevant for true anchor babies where the mother comes to the US for the birth and goes back to her home country (as staying illegally would prevent you from filing for a green card in the first place).
    The majority of undocumented babies is born to “long term illegals” that are staying without paperwork and with little chance sans amnesty for legalization. They might have an anchor function in that while legally they can still deport the whole family they rarely do. But the vast majority comes around for the simple reason most babies are born, not some nefarious purpose.

  53. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mikey: @grumpy realist: My wife is from Spain. We had a totally different experience with the STL office. They were friendly, forthright, and helpful. Her naturalization process was very uneventful.

  54. Electroman says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    My wife is from Canada, and the Milwaukee office was very nice as well. It didn’t take years, either – about six months IIRC.

  55. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    Well, I´m a Brazilian. My mom had a friend that lived illegally in New Jersey for some years. And he simply hated it. He did not speak English, and he did not have contact with his neighbors, for obvious reasons. Being an illegal immigrant is a s*** life.

    In the past, people were willing to do that because you could wash dishes for some years in Los Angeles or in Miami, save some dollars then buy a house or a small business in Guatemala or in Sinaloa. But since incomes(And the cost of living) is increasing all over Latin America, people are less willing to do that. There was some influx of immigrants from Central America some years ago, but these countries are much poorer and much more chaotic than Mexico or Panama.

    Frankly, Brazil might have all the problems in the world, but I don´t have to care about millionaire hospital bills. I don´t know if I would emigrate LEGALLY to the US, and doing that illegally makes even less sense.

  56. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    Well, I´m a Brazilian. My mom had a friend that lived illegally in New Jersey for some years. And he simply hated it. He did not speak English, and he did not have contact with his neighbors, for obvious reasons. Being an illegal immigrant is a s*** life.

    In the past, people were willing to do that because you could wash dishes for some years in Los Angeles or in Miami, save some dollars then buy a house or a small business in Guatemala or in Sinaloa. But since incomes(And the cost of living) is increasing all over Latin America, people are less willing to do that. There was some influx of immigrants from Central America some years ago, but these countries are much poorer and much more chaotic than Mexico or Panama.

    Frankly, Brazil might have all the problems in the world, but I don´t have to care about millionaire hospital bills. I don´t know if I would emigrate LEGALLY to the US, and doing that illegally makes even less sense.

  57. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:
    Why should they (Texans who want do not care about the Constitution, except for the Second Amendment) be permitted to deny the issuance of a birth certificate to a child born in the United States?

  58. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @JohnMcC: Living in Brazil, that has a national iD, I can understand why Libertarians and Conservatives would be opposed to that.

  59. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I was working up a whole series of arguments to show just how stupid your position is (and, by extension, you are), but it simply isn’t worth my time. I’ll save it for someone who actually might be able to grasp it.

    Translated from Jenosese (using goggle translate): I got nuthin’.

    (This is a free service provided by Cracker Enterprises, a division of Conglomo, Inc.)

  60. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Rafer Janders: Having done this type of work and worked in the related industry, I have to note that it is possible that the labor may be too physically demanding for American workers in aggregate (indeed, the experience of Georgia farmers during the 2014 harvest seem to indicate so). Raising wages may not be able to address that problem.

  61. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Grumpy Realist: An example of what you are talking about comes from a friend of mine who was “recruited” for a job looking for a paralegal (preferably with a JD, but because of my friend’s experience they were willing to overlook is lack of degree) who is an experienced claims adjuster with 4 years of additional experience in plaintiff side workman’s compensation law to come to work for their company for $15/hour ($31,200/year).

    Did I mention that they would also prefer the candidate to be bi-lingual?

    They’ve been looking for 6 months.

  62. Mikey says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: Wow. According to Salary.com a “Paralegal 1” (which says “entry level” to me) earns around $45-48K. Tack on a few years of experience and they’re in the high-$50K range.

    I’m not sure what that prospective employer is thinking–I mean, yeah, nobody’s surprised by a low-ball offer, but over $20K below market? That’s just idiocy.

  63. grumpy realist says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: Ha, that beats my story by a mile…

    I was a candidate for a patent portfolio management position. They wanted someone who was bilingual (English/Japanese), had 5 or more years experience, claimed they wanted a patent agent but at least half of the tasks would have required being a patent attorney. Amount they were willing to pay? $40K-70K.

    I talked it all over with the General Manager of the law firm I was already at and we agreed that to get someone to move away from Chicago these critters would have to be offering $140-$160K.

    WHY do companies do this? Why why why? It certainly doesn’t make me have any confidence in their business estimation capabilities if they can’t even figure out what the going rate is for a candidate of quality.

  64. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: OK, let me just put this BS to rest right now. I framed and hung drywall for years. There is no more physically strenuous work anywhere. Hanging 5/8s firecode for 8-10 hours a day, 112 lbs per 4×12 sheet, that you handle by yourself, sheet after sheet after sheet after sheet all day long. Unless of course it was stretch board or high impact board or, dog forbid, lead lined in a hospital x-ray, in which cases it weighed more and LL weighed a LOT more. I did it for over 30 years because the pay was good, the benefits were good, and I was good at it. At the age of 54, I hit a wall. The pain just got to be too much, as I knew it would.

    I remember working one small contractor who had a friend who had a friend who was a famous football player and who’s son was a highly touted college football player. The kid needed something to do for the summer to keep him out of trouble and make some money so my boss gave him a job. Might not know much but he could do basic laboring anyway. My boss gave him to me help out with hauling some couple dozen or more sheets of drywall up a circular staircase. This kid can do it. I mean, look at him, he is in shape. Cut out of granite or some such.

    He barely made it through the day, and he never came back. And I was easy on him.

    Point being, given incentive, anybody can do just about any physical job, even get used to it to the point that you just don’t even notice it as being very hard because one becomes hardened to it. But you take somebody off the street, say Arnold Schwarzenegger, and throw them into a job they are not physically or mentally prepared for, and they will be crying by noon.

    Could we get Americans to pick celery and strawberries etc? Sure. We just can’t get Americans to pay for it.

  65. Mikey says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: There are a lot of different kinds of “in shape.” I know a couple guys who could bench-press me for 20 reps but I could run them into the ground for 20 miles.

    Plus the kid was probably used to getting accolades and positive attention and girls with his athletic ability. You offered none of that, so, like you said…incentive matters.

  66. bill says:

    it’s a start- the 14th was a weak segue to begin with, but if you really need to buy votes by selling out your country then it’s all good guess…….

  67. Matt says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Playing football is nothing like hanging drywall. It’s much easier to play football….

  68. michael reynolds says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    People who think Mexicans are “taking our jobs” in construction, agriculture, etc.., have never worked physical labor. No one wants these jobs. That’s how the Mexicans got the jobs in the first place, because you have to be pretty desperate to want to do stoop labor in a blazing hot field, or cut up chickens on an assembly line.

    We have an aging population with a huge bubble of baby boomers about to reach the age where they’ll need their (our) diapers changed. And somehow we’re upset that we have a whole bunch of people willing to do the work for third world wages. We’re angry at people for taking on the jobs no one else wants for less than half of what we’d otherwise have to pay? It’s perverse.

  69. Matt says:

    @michael reynolds: It’s hard work that involves back breaking labor for god awful long hours starting early in the morning.

    I know this as I’ve done it. I’ve gotten up for work and stood in line for the bus at 4am when I was a kid. I wasn’t even picking anything just detassling the corn for the seed growers. I grew up on a farm and we always had a large garden.