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Monday, February 7, 2011

Arizona and Birthright Citizenship

What frustrates me most about this is that while there is no historic precedent supporting this move, and while the phrase in the 14th amendment "subject to the jurisdiction of" the sponsors of this move claim supports their objective has, not quite but almost on its face, no application to what they wish to "make" it say-- in fact, the very phrase supports the granting, and not the denial of "birthright" citizenship, as does all legal precedent related to this-- I still sense, as I think the sponsors of this bill also sense, that the only thing they need to prevail here, even in spite of everything I've just cited, is five SCOTUS justices who would like to put the brakes on the growth of the Latino population in the U.S. That is to say that if five such justices exist, a way can and will be found, no matter how brazenly extra-constitutional it would be, to say, as the sponsors of this bill mean to: "This will be so;" and it will. 

I don't even care about the hypocrisy of the whole "judicial activism" claim so frequently made by the right, which is what this effort is. Rather, I care only that five such individuals could do this. I hope I'm being too cynical in thinking that they would-- and it's possible I am; I mean, it's one thing to break with 10+ decades of precedent when the court means to expand the rights of a group-- but it would be another thing ENTIRELY to do so when the aim was to restrict and limit someone's rights, and though the justices are appointed for life, they are not above the influence of public opinion, and of the conscience of the American people, and of individuals who, in this instance, would lock eyes and point a figure of derision at them-- but I'm thinking of the confusion, and the entirely unproductive waste of energy it will take to reverse such a ruling, and of the bitterness which it will fill so many of us with at the worst time for us to have yet another issue pumping such toxicity into the body politic.

And to those who would retort that the current state of the immigration policy has embittered them, I reply that the growth of the Latino population can only be slowed, it cannot be stopped, and it would not even be stopped much via this effort, should it succeed: Latino Americans add something like 400,000 new Americans a year simply by virtue of the births to Latino citizens and those Latinos married to non Latino Americans. Thus, a success of this effort, while it will bring about an emotional satisfaction, one akin to a sugar high, for those who support it will, as a result, shine a spotlight on what most of the rest of us believe-- regardless of what supporters SAY is their reason for supporting such legislation; regardless, even, if the reason in fact IS what such people claim it to be-- that the true motivation, which is to say, the central and most operative one in those who would amend or reinterpret our constitution this way, is to gratify an anti-Latino impulse.

If it is true, then, that the growth of this community is by now an unstoppable force of history, then you on the right cannot do anything but harm your own long term interests by giving the members of this new community and its supporters reason to believe your rejection is of THEM.

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