The Odd Accomplishment of Sen. Lindsey Graham

 

Sen. Graham, the Republican of South Carolina, has proposed a constitutional amendment to deny citizenship to the children of illegal aliens. In the fractious, many-sided debate on immigration, Sen. Graham has achieved something rare: unanimity. As best I can tell, everybody agrees that his proposal is nuts. Over at Contentions, Jennifer Rubin, who is very much in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, quotes Mark Krikorian, who very much isn’t–and does so approvingly:

Although we agree on practically nothing concerning this issue, I fully concur with Mark Krikorian on this one….“I’m exactly against changing this,” [Krikorian] said. “I think it’s sort of a stupid thing. You would end up with lots of U.S.-born illegal immigrants. There’s something like 300,000 kids born here to illegal immigrants every year.”

This one’s a head-scratcher. If Sen. Graham has contrived to offend both Jennifer Rubin and Mark Krikorian, just whose approval, exactly, was he hoping to attract?

There are 11 comments.

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MelFoil

    If two babies are born in Denver, side by side, and both live their whole lives in Colorado, then regardless of where their parents came from, one can’t be more American than the other. By the time they’re headed for college, 99% of their life experience will be the same. You can deny one of them citizenship, to dissuade or punish their parents for being here illegally, but just realize that in this case you are punishing the child for the sins of the parents. For all the child knows, they’re as American as John Wayne. There are cases where the child is not even aware that their parents are illegal. If their parents don’t tell them, how would they know?

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    @DuaneOyen

    He’s going after anchor babies, of course. The problem is a lot more complex than just this proposal. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t have an issue with someone sneaking across the border to give birth and then starting the immigration chain.

    But there are other issues as well- for example, this would do a tremendous favor to Chinese visitors in the US, whose children lose rights over there (dual citizenship is a problem) if they are born in the US while the mother is visiting. I know of one cute little boy, son of a Georgetown grad student, who is literally “the man without a country”.

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    @cdor

    If my wife has a child in France, is that child automatically a French citizen? How about England, Saudi Arabia, anywhere? Someone help me out here, I am ignorant of foreign laws.

    Lyndsay Graham may be dumb, but he’s not stupid. He knows this will go nowhere. It is purely a political move on his part. Even though I agree with the position, I don’t trust a man who essentially called me a xenophobe 3 years ago for not supporting a “comprehensive” immigration bill that didn’t secure our borders first.

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    @

    This is another indication that Senator Graham’s occasional “hey guys look how conservative I am” theatrics are little else. Maybe he should put an appointment in his calendar that reminds an aide to do additional homework before the next inconsistent-with-his-squishy-positions PR jaunt.

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    @
    etoiledunord: If two babies are born in Denver, side by side, and both live their whole lives in Colorado, then regardless of where their parents came from, one can’t be more American than the other. · Jul 30 at 2:46pm

    That is not at all true and the proof is, well, just about everywhere. One of the very large problems caused by illegal immigration is the lack of assimilation of the children born to those immigrants. Often they do not become American because they can not experience America in its fullness. That is solely the fault of the parents. They are cheating their children.

    I am inclined to take a good long look at birthright citizenship. I don’t know what the solution is to the problem, but we do need to solve it.

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    @MichaelTee
    etoiledunord: If two babies are born in Denver, by the time they’re headed for college, 99% of their life experience will be the same.

    I have to disagree here. One thing is the parents do not have a level of assimilation that the parents of the other child does. They are not inculcated with American values. A different value system is an important part of a child’s development and resultant interaction with individuals and society. As someone who has a lot more experience than many of the readers here with the wrong side of the tracks (I can say this because a lot of you thought $150K per annum was average – see: http://www.ricochet.com/conversations/The-Bush-Tax-Cuts-Should-They-Stay-or-Should-They-Go) I can tell you that children of illegal immigrants are “the other.” And they prefer it that way.

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    @cdor

    I don’t know, e.d., has this issue got some precedence?

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    @GeorgeSavage

    What do the fine members of the Ricochet universe think of the following argument? The Constitution already permits restriction of birth citizenship under the 14th Amendment, which reads in part: “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 [emphasis mine]”

    A French diplomat giving birth in the US is subject to French jurisdiction and therefore her child is not a US citizen. Surely Congress could enact a statute applying the same logic to foreign citizens residing illegally in the United States, citizens subject to the jurisdiction of their home countries, not the US. The contrary position implies that the Constitution devolves the power to confer US citizenship onto illegal aliens themselves, at least with respect to their children.

    Americans are too generous a people to uproot those who have integrated into our society regardless of the circumstances of their birth, an impulse I fully support. But the view that illegal aliens are able to confer US citizenship on their children as a matter of constitutional right seems erroneous to me.

    How about the rest of you?

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    @

    Do those who support the Senator’s proposal think there should be no assimilation at all? Has anyone actually researched the extent to which the “anchor baby” phenomenon is a material issue? The economics of crossing the border don’t change and obviously those who carry their infant children across the border have no issue dooming them to a life of non-citizenship for the prospect of better economic conditions. This proposal only has the effect of fracturing the debate and portraying the Republican position as willing to fiddle around with the Constitution for cynical political gain.

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    @MelFoil
    George Savage: ….the view that illegal aliens are able to confer US citizenship on their children as a matter of constitutional right seems erroneous to me.

    How about the rest of you? · Jul 30 at 6:17pm

    Your argument is not with us. I think even conservative members of the Supreme Court come down on the side of the current most-common interpretation of the 14th amendment. So, if you eat right and exercise regularly, you may live long enough to see it change by the amendment process, but not anything short of that. :)

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    @SuryaMaruvada

    Without getting and maintaining control of the border, Sen. Gramnesty’s proposal will be as effective as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

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