birthright citizenship

Herb Titus: America Has A 'Responsibility Before God' To Only Allow Immigrants From 'Christian-Principled Cultures'

Herb Titus, the Christian Reconstructionist attorney and longtime Roy Moore ally, weighed in yesterday on the debate raging in the GOP about birthright citizenship, claiming in an interview with Florida talk radio host Joyce Kaufman that the 14th Amendment’s citizenship guarantee is part of an unbiblical attack on America’s God-ordained borders and on God Himself. He also called for the U.S. to restrict immigration from countries without a “Christian-principled culture.”

Kaufman — famous for resigning as then-congressman-elect Allen West’s chief of staff after she was criticized for such comments as calling for the hanging of undocumented immigrants — insisted that granting citizenship to the American-born children of undocumented immigrants “creates a hostile environment for real American citizens” because “these children who we have granted this precious status of being American citizens have become such a tremendous drain and at the same time replaced American workers.”

Titus told Kaufman that the problem with America’s citizenship laws isn’t just birthright citizenship but people coming in and setting up “cultural enclaves” and forgetting that America was founded on “the law of Nature and of Nature’s God.”

“If all we have is people who come to the United States to set up an entirely different culture, as we have so much nowadays in America where people are setting up their little cultural enclaves, we’re no longer the United States of America, we’ve become a kind of multicultural society that’s based on I don’t know what, since we don’t know what the principles are that undergird this nation anymore. We’ve forgotten the law of nature and nature’s God and the very foundational principles in the Declaration of Independence, and that’s what unites us,” he said.

He added that his view was rooted in the Bible: “The boundaries that are set for the United States of America are essential for determining whether America can be a nation. This is why when God led the people of Israel out through Moses into the Promised Land, they established themselves as a nation with boundaries. And if you don’t have boundaries, you don’t have a nation.”

Saying that immigration has created a “modern-day Tower of Babel,” Titus insisted that “it’s important for us to recognize that we have a responsibility before God the Creator to maintain the integrity of our borders. That’s very crucial in terms of integrity as an American Christian.”

“The Great Commission says that the Church is to go into all nations, not the nations coming into America. We’re supposed to take the good news to all nations,” he said.

“Look at some of the African nations, they’re adhering to some of the basic principles of the Creator, and God’s blessing them for doing so.”

After Kaufman complained about communities of immigrants from the Middle East that she said displayed an “anti-American” culture, Titus praised Gov. Bobby Jindal’s line that “immigration without assimilation is an invasion.”

“This is exactly what we’ve had,” he said, claiming that the U.S. used to only allow immigration from “countries that have a Christian-principled culture.”

“We had a carefully designed policy for many years to allow as immigrants into the United States only those people from countries that have a Christian-principled culture,” he said. “We may have had different denominations, it wasn’t a denominational thing, it was basically an understanding that if you didn’t begin with God and the Book of Genesis, ‘all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, to secure these rights governments are instituted among men.’ If we didn’t have people who understood that or who wanted that and were willing to receive that, they could not become citizens of the United States. We don’t ask that of anyone anymore.”
 

Rick Santorum Pledges To Sign Unconstitutional Birthright Citizenship Repeal

In an interview yesterday with Newsmax TV after a press conference at which he reiterated his support for ending birthright citizenship, Rick Santorum promised that as president he would “absolutely” sign a bill repealing the right, saying that it could probably be done without a constitutional amendment.

Ignoring the clear history of the 14th Amendment, Santorum told Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg that it wasn’t clear whether the Constitution requires that children of foreign nationals born on U.S. soil be granted citizenship. Santorum said that he would leave it up to the Supreme Court to interpret the stipulation that birthright citizenship applies only to people “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States — long interpreted by the courts as excluding only a small class of people such as the children of ambassadors.

“That’s a decision that’s actually appropriately left up to the Supreme Court,” Santorum said. “These are the kinds of decisions that the Supreme Court should be making with respect to how do we determine somewhat vague language in the Constitution, not doing what they did and have been doing routinely is creating new constitutional rights.”

When Malzberg asked if the Supreme Court has ever “weighed in on whether the 14th Amendment covers these babies born of illegals,” Santorum replied that “to my knowledge, they have not.”

In fact, the Supreme Court did just that in 1898, ruling that a California-born child of Chinese immigrants, who were later barred from returning to the United States under the Chinese Exclusion Act, could not be denied citizenship under the 14th Amendment. That case, U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, cemented the right to birthright citizenship guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.


 

The Constitution The Republicans Can't Stand

This post was written by PFAW President Michael B. Keegan and originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

If you are running for office as a Republican today, you have to mention your reverence for the Constitution at least as much as you mention your love for Ronald Reagan.

The Second Amendment-- every word should be taken literally because it was literally ordained by God! The First Amendment protects my right to discriminate against gay people! Neither the Constitution nor the Bible contains the word "Obamacare"!

But Republican politicians have a few glaring blind spots when it comes to the Constitution. One of those is the 14th Amendment, a pillar of our inclusive democracy, a key component of which Republican presidential candidates are now asking us to ignore or change.

In its infamous Dred Scott decision in 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the descendants of enslaved people were disqualified from U.S. citizenship. After we fought a civil war, the U.S. ratified the 14th Amendment to the Constitution in 1868, which overturned Dred Scott in its opening lines, declaring, "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."

During the congressional debate over the 14th Amendment, both its supporters and detractors recognized that this birthright citizenship clause would apply to everyone born on U.S. soil, not just the descendants of slaves. In 1898, the Supreme Court ruled that even after the passage of the discriminatory Chinese Exclusion Act, the U.S.could not deny citizenship to Wong Kim Ark, a California-born son of Chinese immigrants, because the 14th Amendment guaranteed him citizenship.

Yet, anti-immigrant activists and their allies in the GOP are now fighting against this most American of constitutional principles.

In an immigration plan released this week, GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump called for ending birthright citizenship. No matter that he didn't say how he would do that(while most people acknowledge that it would take a constitutional amendment to change the policy, some claim it was never included in the 14th Amendment in the first place). His Republican rivals started jumping to join him. Scott Walker told reporters that he "absolutely" wanted to change the Constitution's definition of citizenship, adding, paradoxically, that "to me it's about enforcing the laws in this country." Ben Carson said it "doesn't make any sense" to allow "anchor babies." Bobby Jindal joined the fray. So did Lindsey Graham. Rand Paul and Rick Santorum had already expressed their support for undoing the citizenship provision, with Paul sponsoring a constitutional amendment to do so and Santorum saying the 14th Amendment doesn't even say what it says.

Jeb Bush has been getting unearned credit for acknowledging that birthright citizenship is a "constitutional right" that we shouldn't "take away" -- just a few days after implying that if he had a "magic wand" to change the Constitution he would use it to do just that. Similarly, John Kasich has renounced his previous support for repealing birthright citizenship, but now says he doesn't want to "dwell on it." Carly Fiorina's and Rick Perry's passionate defense of the 14th Amendment is that it would take too much work to change it. This is what now passes for moderation. What ever happened to defending basic constitutional rights?

The Republican presidential contenders' rush to badmouth a basic constitutional right -- in an apparent attempt to appeal to their supposedly Constitution-loving far-right base -- speaks volumes about what they really mean when they talk about constitutionalism. They use their pocket Constitutions for the parts that come in handy. The rest of it? Not so much.

PFAW

Steve King: 'What Happens To The Demographics Of America' If Birthright Citizenship Continues?

At a House hearing yesterday on his proposal to challenge the 14th Amendment’s birthright citizenship requirement, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, alleged that the provision’s defenders simply want to “expand [their] political base by any means necessary” and worried about what preserving birthright citizenship will do to the country’s “demographics.”

King’s bill, which he has introduced a number of times in the House, seeks to end birthright citizenship by statute, since he and his allies claim — despite overwhelming historical evidence — that the 14th Amendment was not meant to apply to the children of immigrants. He calls it part of his strategy to fight the “anchor baby agenda.”

In the hearing, King approvingly cited the Dominican Republic’s repeal of its birthright citizenship law, which has left thousands of Haitian migrants stateless. Saying that the Constitution’s birthright citizenship provision “hands over the immigration policy to everyone except Americans,” King alleged that there’s no argument for it “unless you want to expand your political base by any means necessary."

Later in the hearing, King asked John Feere of the Center for Immigration Studies “if this practice goes on…can we confer citizenship on people who don’t even want it? And what happens to the demographics of America if this policy is not reversed?”

Seriously? Republicans Target Birthright Citizenship Again?

This op-ed by Randy Borntager, Political Director of People For the American Way, was originally published at The Huffington Post.

After the vast majority of Republicans voted to shut down the Department of Homeland Security to oppose President Obama's immigration actions, and with Republicans blocking any hope of real immigration reform this Congress, it seems the anti-immigrant movement has instead decided to refocus its efforts on revoking the constitutional right to birthright citizenship.

Earlier this week, Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana decided to introduce a birthright citizenship amendment to the bipartisan Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015. The amendment so far has just one cosponsor -- Sen. David Perdue of Georgia -- and it's unlikely that it will be included in the final bill, but this decision to tack an unconstitutional, anti-immigrant measure onto an important bill shows the priorities of Sen. Vitter and the Republican Party.

Sen. Vitter claims that his birthright citizenship amendment would help curb the issue of "birth tourism," recently in the news surrounding Chinese mothers coming to California -- often committing crimes in the process -- so their children can be born in the U.S. It would seem more sensible to tackle this issue through targeting the middlemen who NBC reports "pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars tax-free," and the visa, tax, and marriage fraud that are often a key part of "birth tourism." Instead, Sen. Vitter and the many Republicans who support ending birthright citizenship are trying to use the issue as cover for their attacks on immigrants and attempts to revoke a core constitutional right.

The flaws of the conservative attacks on birthright citizenship have been well documented. First, it's blatantly unconstitutional. It's clear that the drafters of the 14th Amendment intended it to guarantee citizenship to everyone born in the U.S. The only exception -- in the words of one of the amendment drafter's, Sen. Jacob Howard -- is for people "who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States," as they are not, as the 14th Amendment requires, "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States. Conservatives from Michael Gerson, a former George W. Bush adviser, to the anti-immigrant Lou Dobbs have viewed attempts to undermine birthright citizenship as unconstitutional.

It's also a terrible idea. Gerson wrote, "Anti-immigration activists often claim that their real concern is to prevent law breaking, not to exclude Hispanics. But revoking birthright citizenship would turn hundreds of thousands of infants into 'criminals'--arriving, not across a border, but crying in a hospital." The Migration Policy Institute also found that rather than decreasing the number of undocumented immigrants in America, as birthright citizenship activists claim, revoking the right would "likely increase dramatically" the number of people in the country without authorization, leading to the "establishment of a permanent class of unauthorized persons."

Sen. Vitter is not the only Republican promoting anti-immigrant bills instead of trying for real, bipartisan solutions on immigration. In January of this year, Rep. Steve King of Iowa re-introduced a bill aiming to repeal birthright citizenship. Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Rep. Mike Coffman, and Rep. Joe Heck have all backed plans to revoke birthright citizenship in the past.

We need immigration reform. From improving the economy while reducing the deficit to ensuring that DREAMers and their families can live and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation, the benefits are endless. Not only have Republicans blocked comprehensive immigration reform when it had a real chance of passing, they're now trying yet again to bring up unconstitutional bills to drive their point home. That's not what responsible governing looks like, and for a party that says they're trying to attract more Latino support, they're certainly not shy about attacking immigrants for short-term political gain.

PFAW

Protecting Constitutional Citizenship: 14th Amendment under Fire

Anti-immigrant activists would have us believe that doing away with constitutional citizenship in the 14th Amendment will stem the tide of illegal immigration. In reality, this radical redefinition of citizenship would do nothing to solve the problems we’re facing and would instead force countless children into the shadows due to someone else’s choice that was out of their hands.

Citizenship in the Balance: New Report Examines Right-Wing Efforts to Repeal Constitutional Citizenship

Efforts to deny the right of citizenship to some children born in the United States not only stand on shaky constitutional and historical ground, but threaten to drown out productive debate on immigration reform with misleading anti-immigrant rhetoric, argues a new PFAW report.

Citizenship in the Balance: How Anti-Immigrant Activists Twist the Facts, Ignore History, and Flout the Constitution

America’s broken immigration system requires serious, bipartisan, and comprehensive reform, but a burgeoning movement among anti-immigrant hardliners threatens to jeopardize efforts to fix immigration policies and endanger the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
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