Thursday, August 20, 2015

From Sanctuary Cities to Birthright Citizenship

Let’s accept that there is something seriously wrong with a pregnant woman sneaking into America from wherever… in order to give birth on U. S. soil, thereby to provide her baby with American citizenship. And it is even more wrong for the anchor baby to allow the rest of his family to immigrate to the United States. Very few other countries in the world allow such a practice. Were we to think rationally about the process we would end it tomorrow.

Donald Trump has raised the question and while we applaud his political courage, we must also note that, by shifting the political debate away from sanctuary cities and toward birthright citizenship, he has made a Republican election victory far less likely.

The question is not so much whether Trump makes a good point—he does—but how it will all play politically. Republicans had Democrats on the ropes about sanctuary cities. Now they find themselves in a defensive posture, on the subject of birthright citizenship.

Last month the debate about illegal immigration shifted sharply against those who believed indifference or even resistance to attempts to enforce the rule of law. The murder of a San Francisco woman by an illegal immigrant who had been released by authorities acting on the authority of a sanctuary city law highlighted a serious problem. Liberals, including Hillary Clinton, found themselves on the defensive with no way to explain why Democrats had backed such clearly dangerous proposals. 

A month ago Republicans were winning the debate on immigration. Now, it is not so clear:

But today Americans woke up to a new immigration debate and the 14thAmendment that has given the left back the moral high ground and put Republicans in the soup. Donald Trump has wrongly claimed credit for putting illegal immigration back on the nation’s front burner. But it must be acknowledged that he deserves all the blame for this one. By proposing an end to birthright citizenship and wrongly claiming that the courts have never ruled on whether it applies even to the children of foreigners born in the United States, he has led the GOP down a rabbit hole from which there may be no escape. Thanks to the Donald, Americans have stopped worrying about sanctuary cities or even how best to secure the border and instead are the astonished onlookers to a sterile debate about stripping native-born Americans of their citizenship and fantasies about deporting 11 million illegals.

The question is: would you prefer to be debating sanctuary cities or discussing the 14th amendment and mass deportation:

The element of Trump’s plan to deal with illegal immigration that has gotten the most attention is his proposal to strip the children of illegal immigrants born in the United States of their citizenship. Doing so involves overturning an interpretation of the law that goes back virtually to the beginning of the republic. Moreover, contrary to the assertions of Trump and his backers, the Supreme Court has ruled on the issue when it decided in 1898 that the 14th Amendment gave citizenship to all those born in this country even if their parents were foreigners.

Tobin adds:

But what those conservatives who have eagerly tumbled down the rabbit hole with Trump on the issue are forgetting is that we are in the middle of a presidential election, not a law school bull session.

Clearly, Trump has a point. And he has continued to express that point clearly and forcefully. People are swooning over his candidacy. And yet, this is a presidential election and we must ask ourselves how it is going to play in the general election. How good will feel for having vented your spleen while you watch the inauguration of President Hillary? Does the concept of a Pyrrhic victory register?

In Tobin’s words:

Trump’s popularity rests in his willingness to articulate the anger that many Americans feel about injustices or the failure of government to deal with problems. If there are 11 million illegals in the country, they want them all to be chucked out. If they have children here, who are, by law, U.S. citizens, they say, so what? Chuck them out too.

And, what about the cost:

Reasonable people can differ about possible solutions to the problem but there’s nothing reasonable or practical about a proposal that assumes the U.S. government is capable of capturing and deporting 11 million people plus the untold number of U.S. citizens to which they have given birth.

The notion that the American people will stomach such an exercise or pay what Politico estimates (probably conservatively) the $166 billion it would cost to pull off such a horrifying spectacle is a pure fantasy.

In this case, the issue is the politics:

What needs to be emphasized here is that wherever you stand on birthright citizenship or mass deportations, so long as it is these ideas that Republicans are discussing (as Trump did last night with Bill O’Reilly on Fox News), then they are losing the debate about immigration and very likely the next presidential election. No one is going to be elected president on a platform of depriving people born in this country of citizenship no matter who their parents might be. Nor, despite the cheers Trump gets from his fans, will the American people ever countenance the kinds of intrusive measures and the huge expansion of the federal immigration bureaucracy and police powers that would be needed to pull off a mass deportation.

Many people, and even many commenters on this blog, thrill to the fact that Trump is finally speaking truth to power. And, in fact, I and even Tobin agree with many of the points that he makes in his immigration plan. Yet, the plan is not practicable, and even if it were, it is probably a political loser.

The problem with non-politician candidates is that they are amateurs. Even when they receive the advice of professionals, they are still amateurs. And, presidential campaigns do not often look kindly on amateurs. If you don’t think that the Clinton campaign, which is falling apart as we speak, has not already commissioned the ads that will attack Trump for his proposal, you are not paying attention.

Writing in the Washington Post, Paul Waldman describes the scenario:

I promise you that next fall, there are going to be ads like this running all over the country, and especially on Spanish-language media:
“My name is Lisa Hernandez. I was born in California, grew up there. I was valedictorian of my high school class, graduated from Yale, and now I’m in medical school; I’m going to be a pediatrician. But now Scott Walker and the Republicans say that because my mom is undocumented, that I’m not a real American and I shouldn’t be a citizen. I’m living the American Dream, but they want to take it away from me and people like me. Well I’ve got a message for you, Governor Walker. I’m every bit as American as your children. This country isn’t about who your parents were, it’s about everybody having a chance to work hard, achieve, and contribute to our future. It seems like some people forgot that.”

When a hundred ads like that one are blanketing the airwaves, the Republicans can say, “Wait, I support legalimmigration!” all they want, but it won’t matter. Hispanic voters will have heard once again — and louder than ever before — that the GOP doesn’t like them and doesn’t want them. Will it be different if they nominate one of the candidates who doesn’t want to repeal birthright citizenship, like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio? Somewhat, but the damage among Hispanic voters could already be too great even for them to overcome.


Leo G said...

From my experience with East Indians, who are our Spanish up here in the GWN, I have found that after they have lived in the country for a few years and have adjusted to our wealth threshold, they too want the influx of their cheaper competing brethren choked off.

Bizzy Brain said...

Fortunately for Trump and his supporters, Jonathon Tobin is full of you know what.

Dennis said...

Not to bring some facts to this discussion, but there were no illegal immigrants before 1921/22 when the first quotas were originated. Point in fact native americans did not become citizens of the US until the 1920s. Before then it was considered that they owed their allegiance to their respective tribal nations.
Since the 14th amendment was enacted before there were illegal immigrants it should not and was not meant to apply to illegal immigrants. Trump may have more standing than one might think. Only Congress has the responsibility, not the courts, to give them citizenship. One might was to look up the history of the 14th amendment and what it meant to the people who enacted it.
Lizzy Brain and Leo G are probably correct in the assertion that many Hispanics, et all are none too happy or identify with the illegals.
If Texas elections are any indication those who are challenging both Sanctuary cities and birthright citizenship may be on to something. It won't take too many more women being killed and/or raped by illegals before a large number of people will want action taken. Here I use women because it seems not to matter how many men get killed. Tobin tends to be a party hack with a law degree and I suspect that many lawyers, including him, have spent little time researching how and why the 14th amendment came into being and what those who enacted meant for its applicability.
It remains to be seen how this will actually play out. A aside note here the term WOP, which I always thought was a pejoratives, was actually a designation given to immigrants WithOut Papers because they came from places that did not keep good records of births, et al. My wife's parents parents came into this country with the WOP designation.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

The question was not whether we should interpret the law in a radically different fashion or even change it. I would support an end to laws that allow anchor babies. The question, as Tobin and I asked it was whether or not you want this to be the central issue in the political debate. Republicans were doing much better when it was all about sanctuary cities.

Ares Olympus said...

We're agreed the mass-deportation is distracting from the more interesting questions like sanctuary cities.

For context of this lawnessless, I'm assuming the issue is explained under "public safety". If you require police officers and public employees to become immigration informants, you encourage otherwise law-abiding illegals will avoid all interactions police.

Perhaps its vaguely similar to the Military gay policy "Don't ask, don't tell" although much worse since sexual orientation is private, but identity is public, and so illegals must pay for illegal forms of ID and Social security numbers to work. And of course, the legitimate and unmeasured fear that illegal immigrants are illegally voting and influencing elections.

Voter ID laws might make sense if national IDs were issued freely to all citizens like social security numbers, but strangely the Right is also paranoid about the federal government having too much power to track individuals as well.

Maybe we can add an NSA/1984 debate in here too while we try to separate ourselves from the riffraff below us without getting stomped by the same government we want to get rid of the undesireables?!
The term sanctuary city is given to cities in the United States or Canada that have policies designed to shelter illegal immigrants. These practices can be by law (de jure) or they can be by habit (de facto). The term generally applies to cities that do not allow municipal funds or resources to be used to enforce federal immigration laws, usually by not allowing police or municipal employees to inquire about an individual's immigration status. The designation has no legal meaning.

There is no legal definition of a sanctuary city, county or state.[2] Certain cities in the United States began designating themselves as sanctuary cities during the 1980s.[1] The policy was first initiated in 1979 in Los Angeles, to prevent police from inquiring about the immigration status of arrestees. The internal policy, "Special Order 40," states: "Officers shall not initiate police action with the objective of discovering the alien status of a person. Officers shall not arrest nor book persons for violation of title 8, section 1325 of the United States Immigration code (Illegal Entry)."

Some of the 31 American cities are Washington, D.C.; New York City (see also Illegal immigration in New York City); Jersey City; Los Angeles; Philadelphia, San Francisco; Santa Ana; San Diego; San Jose; Oakland; Salt Lake City; Houston; Detroit; Chicago; Salinas, California; Minneapolis; Miami; Denver; Baltimore; Seattle; Portland, Oregon; New Haven; Somerville; Cambridge; and Portland, Maine.

These cities have adopted "sanctuary" ordinances banning city employees and police officers from asking people about their immigration status.

Dennis said...

For your edification:

I would agree that the Republicans are better dealing with Sanctuary cities, but the Constitution does not recognize nor has the Supreme Court recognized "anchor babies." These babies are adjudicated to have the same allegiances as their mothers to their country of origin.

I did not state that I thought it was a good idea to punish children whose parents knew they were breaking the law, but we need to find a way to deal with this from a legal stand point or act in the lawless manner of Obama and the democrats. I admit that I am torn here between compassion and the need for this country to be able to determine its own immigration laws. Our laws either have value or they do not.
As I stated I am not sure where this is headed politically because there is a growing movement that wants the laws in this country to be enforced. If there is a need for a Constitutional amendment then so be it. I don't believe it will become the central issue nor should it be if we ensure that illegal aliens are not voting.

RonF said...

Politico's full of it. It wouldn't take that kind of money. Just some legislation and executive orders, and their enforcement.

1) Employment of an illegal alien becomes a felony enforceable on CEO, COO and CFO. Mandatory jail time for 2nd offense. Use of eVerify to check citizenship/resident alien/work visa status is an affirmative defense.
2) Granting any kind of financial account - consumer loan/credit card, checking account, savings account, business loan - to an illegal alien becomes a felony AND by executive order the offending institution no longer can participate in any Federal program (including FSLIC, FDIC, handling of government securities, etc.). Again, use of eVerify is an affirmative defense.
3) Any State government granting an ID or drivers' license to an illegal alien loses Federal law enforcement and Federal road building funds. If the person obtaining the license is an alien legally present in the U.S. but that status runs out before the license does, the expiry date of their right to be in the US must be displayed on the license in the largest font used for any other information on it.

Can't get a job. Can't get a loan. Can't get an ID. They'll go home.

Ares Olympus said...

RonF, those are bold suggestions.

I didn't know what eVerify is. If it is so dependable, why not use it for voting access too? Are all 300+ million Americans in the system?

How much does it cost for access? Will potential employers, financial institutions, or state government offices be required to immediately call the police when E-Verify fails?

....OH, an 8% margin of error? Are these false positives or false negatives?

It really is amazing anyone would live in a country where they have no legal status, but I don't know all the tricks they might use. I suppose "birthright" is central, so a parent is willing to live underground in cash-only jobs as long as their children are granted citizenship for being born here.

I wonder how many of the "11 million" (or whatever estimate) are illegal immigrants and how many are children born here to illegal immigrants?
As of 2012, "the overall accuracy of E-Verify for employment-authorized workers, as measured by the FNC (Final Nonconfirmations) accuracy rate, was approximately 94 percent.". However, the margin of error, currently around 8%, is decreasing, as many of the errors came from changing last names after marriage or not informing the government of changes in citizenship status.

Chris Calabrese of the American Civil Liberties Union opposes E-Verify, citing concerns that it could expand into an onerous national ID system: "Employers are not police officers, except in this one context where we suddenly want them to be law enforcement agents who are going to police their workforce."

The American Farm Bureau Federation opposes E-Verify and stated in July that it "could have a significant, negative impact on US farm production, threatening the livelihoods of many farmers and ranchers in labor intensive agriculture."

Tentative Nonconfirmation Overview

Your employer may inform you that your E-Verify case received a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Social Security Administration (SSA) Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC) case result. A DHS or SSA TNC means that the information your employer entered in E-Verify from your Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, did not match records available to DHS or SSA. A DHS or SSA TNC case result does not necessarily mean that you are not authorized to work in the United States.

An SSA Tentative Nonconfirmation may occur if:
•Your citizenship or immigration status changed since you last received your Social Security number.
•You changed your name but did not report the change to SSA.
•Your name, Social Security number or date of birth was recorded incorrectly in SSA records.
•There is another type of mismatch with your SSA record.
•Your employer did not enter your information correctly in E-Verify.
•The name you provided on your Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, is not consistent with your name in SSA records.

A DHS Tentative Nonconfirmation may occur if:
•Your name, A-numberI-94, and/or foreign passport number were recorded incorrectly in DHS records.
•Your U.S. Passport, Passport Card, driver’s license or state ID card information could not be verified.
•Your information was not updated in DHS records at the time your information was checked in E-Verify.
•Your citizenship or immigration status changed.
•There is another type of error on your DHS record.
•Your employer did not submit your information correctly to E-Verify.
•The name you provided on your Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, is not consistent with your name in DHS records.

Anonymous said...

Three points:
1) There is NO Amendment, law, regulation, or Supreme Court decision that enables birthright citizenship.
2) Section 1 of the Constitution and Section 5(?) of the 14th Amendment grant the Legislature the power to set naturalization rules.
3) The last time the legislature exercised its naturalization rules powers was when it offered citizenship to the indian nations (tribes).

Sanctuary cities are an evil but are, in essence, an accidental and not essential evil.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

I echo Anonymous' three points outlined immediately above.

Interestingly, we've always been governed by arcane immigration laws. A personal family story illustrates this well, and reads almost like a riddle:

My great-great-grandmother was born on a ship while en route to the United States from Ireland. The ship was flying a Norwegian flag. It picked up passengers and supplies during a brief stop in Newfoundland (though the family did not disembark), and carried on to arrive at their destination: New York City.

So, what was my great-great-grandmother's citizenship? The United States. The reason is not the 14th Amendment. Instead, this was governed by Admiralty Law (now the U.N.'s Law of the Sea), which stipulates that a child is the nationality of the country where they first touched land.

I always thought this was an interesting and curious story. But when you think it through, it makes sense. Where were they going to get a birth certificate? Not at sea. So my great-great-grandmother's place of birth is "At Sea" on her New York birth certificate. Yet to Dennis' point, before 1921-22, there were no immigration rules, and thus nothing to stop her from claiming U.S. citizenship according to Admiralty Law of the time.

Bizzy Brain said...

More “words of wisdom” from Jonathon Tobin for when Obama leaves office: “It’s likely Obama will become a permanent presence in which his library and foundation will be bases from which he will continue to influence our political life for the worst for many years to come.” (What an effing joke.)

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Bizzy Brain @August 21, 2015 at 9:00 PM:

Now you understand how reasonable and understanding the traditional, gentlemanly approves of Republican post- presidents had been.Carter, Clinton... now Obama. The Republicans say they'll be reasonable and stay behind the scenes. And get massacred.