The Fight for Citizenship is Coming

Because of the upcoming assault on the Fourteenth Amendment about to be launched by right-wingers and Tea Baggers in the name of tightening up immigration enforcement against those brown people coming from Latin America, it is important to put both the Fourteenth Amendment and the Dred Scott case into context. Although with a few key strokes one can find the actual text of Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, here it is.

Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment is called the Citizenship Clause and it states: “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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868 after the conclusion of the Civil War. It insured that the freedom of citizenship won with such enormous sacrifice was not undermined by the actions of former slave states. The Fourteenth Amendment was also a direct repudiation of the infamous Dred Scott case decided by the Supreme Court in 1857. (more…)

“Probably Done by an Illegal”

I have this theory that if you rummage around long enough in any major news story in the United States over the last 25 years – the OJ Simpson murder trial, the 2000 Florida recount, the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger, the September 11th attacks, etc., – you’ll find Latinos at the center of it.

The theory holds true in the case of the attempted assassination of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson – a tragedy that resulted in the killing of six people and the wounding of fourteen, including Giffords.

Soon after the shooting, word spread to a gathering of the Maricopa County GOP in Phoenix. In attendance was DeeDee Garcia Blasé, the president and founder of Somos Republicans, a national organization of Hispanic Republicans. Garcia Blasé was shocked at the news, but doubly shocked by what followed. (more…)

The DREAM Will Win the War

Get ready for a real fight.  The lines have never been drawn more brutally. With the economic recovery lurching hither and yon and making the social and political mix extraordinarily flammable, the foreseeable future for immigration reform is decidedly messy if not downright chaotic. Part of the fight, indeed the philosophical core of it, will be to inject reason into the chaos—reason and perhaps some empathy, compassion, and even a dose of self-interest.

Just look at what happened with the DREAM Act that recently failed in the Senate. The DREAM Act is the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act crafted by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Il) and Senator Richard Lugar (R-In) and once supported by former Republican presidential candidate John McCain.  The Act was meant to provide conditional permanent residency to young people in the United States illegally if they arrived before the age of 16 and attended two years of college or served in the military. Upon completion of college or military service (and at no time before such completion), these young people would be granted lawful permanent residency status and a chance to apply for American citizenship.  Failure to complete college or military service would subject these folks to deportation. (more…)

The Word Police

Sometimes, the very best intentions produce the very worst ideas. And so it is with the recent campaign to rid our national lexicon of what some people are calling the “I-word.”

The word is “illegal.” You and I know that word to simply describe something that is against the law. But, to those activists who agitate on behalf of illegal immigrants – including people who favor an open border and a suspension of all laws against unlawful entry into the United States – the word is an unfair and dehumanizing slur against a group of people who are more accurately described as “undocumented.”

To this bunch, “illegal” is a bad word. And those who use it are bad people. Ironically, that includes a wide swath of the liberal media that often expresses support for comprehensive immigration reform and condemnation of reactionary measures like virtually anything coming out of Arizona these days.

Murder of the DREAM

I’d like to report a murder. The DREAM Act is unresponsive and appears to be gasping its last breath. The trouble is that the cowards who committed this heinous act didn’t even have the guts to show their faces. They killed it in secret, using political sleight of hand and parliamentary procedures. So we don’t know – as President Obama famously said during the health care debate – whose ass to kick. But, if it helps, we do have a last known address for the culprits: The U.S. Senate.

Anchor and Terror Babies: Really a Problem?

The “anchor-terror baby” blitz has begun. We’ve seen the script before: create a straw man (i.e. “terror babies”) to build up and easily tear down, or pick a wedge issue (i.e. “anchor babies” or the “ground zero mosque”) in an election year that forces the other side (usually Democrats) to go on the record in defense of a group that can’t speak up for itself (i.e. undocumented immigrants or Muslim Americans). These wedge issues are effective because inevitably there will be some Democrats in touch races that don’t want to risk looking weak on national security, and they will come out against their fellow Democrats.

Think about it: who wants to explain why they’re for terror babies or anchor babies?