A Nation of Immigrants: (Unless, of course, you happen to be Native American) Immigration advocacy groups are watching the Nevada Senate race between Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV1) and Senator By Appointment Only™ Dean Heller (R-NV). Ideological descendants of the Know Nothings, a political party of the mid 19th century devoted to telling the American public about the dire consequences of allowing too many Irish immigrants inside our borders, are supporting Sen. Heller.
Efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform have foundered amidst nativists characterization of any ‘path to citizenship’ as a form of ‘amnesty.’ The McCain-Kennedy Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 hit these shoals, and even efforts by President George W. Bush in June 2007 were insufficient to save it from Congressional opposition. Senator Robert Menendez’s (D-NJ) S. 1258 version of Comprehensive Immigration Reform was introduced on June 22, 2011 and promptly went nowhere. Efforts to alter the 14th Amendment are even more disconcerting.
Amendment XIV, Section 1: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to its 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. ” (emphasis added)
On April 2, 2009 then Representative Heller co-sponsored H.R. 1868, the Birthright Citizenship Act, which “Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to consider a person born in the United States “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States for citizenship at birth purposes if the person is born in the United States of parents, one of whom is: (1) a U.S. citizen or national; (2) a lawful permanent resident alien whose residence is in the United States; or (3) an alien performing active service in the U.S. Armed Forces.”
Lost amid the anti-immigrant rhetoric is the obvious problem for every American family — IF a birth certificate is NOT considered the basic document for citizenship in this country, then all parents after the date of enactment would be required to prove that the child is born of a U.S. citizen, or of lawful permanent residents, or of a non-citizen serving in the U.S. military. Immigration attorneys admit the process is cumbersome and can hinge on questions of the gender of the parent, or the marital status of the parents. [IPO]
In short, in a rather blatant effort to curtail immigration from Mexico and Central America, the Republicans would create problems not only for the Sanchez family recently arrived, but also for the descendants of the Sanchez family, residents of New Mexico since the arrival of the Spanish caravans in the Tewa village of Ohkay Owingeh on July 11, 1598.
However, Senator Heller seems not to have contemplated the consequences of tinkering with the 14th Amendment to sate the appetites of the nativists, and how that might affect all American families. Seen from this perspective, Rep. Berkley should wear her “D+” from the anti-immigrant NumbersUSA as a badge of honor.
For additional information see the posting at this link.