From the Times-News:
Both 1st Congressional District GOP incumbent David Davis and Republican challenger Phil Roe take hard-line positions on illegal immigration.
Davis indicates he knows exactly what people are thinking on the subject.
Oh really? I wonder if he knows what I’m thinking on this subject right now… and his efforts to address the problem? If so, I should probably apologize. It’s not nice to call people names like that.
Davis has signed on to at least five bills targeting illegal immigration, including: legislation limiting citizenship sponsors to spouses and children of permanent resident aliens; a bill limiting citizenship to children born in the United States; a bill allowing federal officials to work with local law enforcement agencies to enforce immigration laws; and a bill prohibiting states from issuing driver’s licenses or other identification documents to illegal aliens.
Granted, I believe a great many of those bills Davis’ has backed fail to adequately address the issue of illegal immigration – and may even compound the problem. But limiting citizenship to children born in the United States? See, the citizenship clause of the 14th amendment states (yes, this would be the pesky Amendment which often serves as the bur in the conservatives’ saddle):
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.
There is some debate as to the meaning of “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” and the intent of the clause. While I would interpret the phrase as written – “being in a position or circumstance which places one under the power or authority of the US Government,” some lawmakers argue that aliens – lawful and unlawful – are not “subject to the jurisdiction” because they swear no allegiance to the United States. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, has never shared this view. In fact, the Court has consistently ruled that the 14th Amendment extends to anyone “who is subject to the laws of a state,” including the U.S.-born children of illegal aliens. (United States v. Wong Kim Ark, Plyler vs. Doe, INS vs. Rios-Pineda.)
So, given the language of the clause and legal precedent, it seems obvious to me that any such law would never hold-up under judicial review. Nevertheless, things do change. The world changes. Our needs change. Therefore, if Congress truly feels the language in the 14th Amendment is problematic or it hinders public policy, there are ways to address this.
Amend the Constitution.
We can, you know. There are provisions. Of course, it would require a 2/3 majority vote in both houses of Congress and need to be ratified by 38 states. I realize this process would be difficult – only because the original framers feared that someday, in the distant future, the government might be comprised of pandering, blow-hard schmucks with an inclination to embrace bad policies and thus add on a slew of ill-conceived amendments.
Point is – proposing things that cannot be done is just as bad as doing nothing.
So until Congress opts to go that route, I think we should call some of these bills Davis bandies about for votes exactly what they are: pointless, time-wasting diversions (much like some of the other pointless time-wasting diversions Davis has co-sponsored – such as the sarcastic resolution calling for Speaker Nancy Pelosi to unveil the “commonsense plan” to lower gas prices she promised almost two years ago or the call for a National Watermelon Month.)
You know, at least, his opponent Phil Roe has a practical approach, which doesn’t involve tinkering with the Constitution or veering so far to the right – he winds up in legislative la-la land.
Then again, perhaps I’m not being fair – because the truth is sometimes, when I sit around, stressed out over gas prices, food prices, retiring baby boomers, labor shortages, increases in mandatory spending, disaster relief, national security, the war, whether or not our company is going to survive the recession and remain profitable enough for us to afford insurance for the kids – I remind myself that, thanks in part to my Congressman, I may be able to celebrate and recognize the juicy goodness of the watermelon for at least 30 days out of the year.
And this makes me feel so much better.