A facet of the immigration debate that tends to be overlooked is the impact on families when half the people in a household are citizens or legal residents and half are not, and the undocumented half get deported--specifically, when the undocumented people are parents, grandparents, or other caregivers and the citizens are minor children who were born here. It's such a problem in Tucson that the Sunnyside Unified School District has joined a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of SB1070, Arizona's "papers please" law that compels municipal law enforcement to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop who they think
is Mexican may be in the country illegally.
State Senator Russell Pearce (R-Fuck Mountain) and Governor Jan Brewer (brrrrrrr) floated competing solutions in which they both attempt to be Solomon, but without getting that Solomon wasn't really serious with that whole chop-the-baby-in-half thing. Brewer--who, by the by, has perfected the facial shrug like nuthin' you've ever seen over the past couple of months--says that deported parents should just take their kids with them back to Mexico (cannot embed; go watch) Problem solved!
It is illegal to trespass into our country. It has always been illegal. And people have determined that they want to take that chance, and that responsibility, it's not gonna tear them apart. They can take their children back with them.
We are a nation of laws. That's why we are America.
Of course, this is the same Jan Brewer who explained her refusal to sign a bill banning texting while driving this way:
"You can write all the laws that you want," Brewer said. "But it sometimes doesn't make a whole lot of difference. People don't follow them."
Pearce, on the other hand, thinks the best way to alleviate the problems faced by mixed-status families is to eliminate them altogether. What's that you say? 14th Amendment to the what? I do declare, sir; you may force me to brandish my cane in anger! Jesus.
Pearce needs a civics refresher--preferably in any state other than the 50th-ranked for education, of course, so OMG ROAD TRIP TIME--if he really doesn't understand the Constitutional issue in play here.
First of all, that's not the law. It's an unconstitutional declaration of citizenship for those born, uh, in the Wong Kim, uh, decision before the Supreme Court, it made it very clear in the statements from the senators at the time that the 14th Amendment was written, made it clear it did not pertain to aliens and those we did not, who did not have legal domicile in the United States. It's the most irrational and uh, uh, self-defeating provision you can have.
True, the 14th Amendment was written specifically to ensure that the children of freed slaves would be automatically accorded citizenship, without thought to waves of people coming to the US from points south 100 years later, but, just as the 1st Amendment has been interpreted to apply to forms of speech media and the 2nd to high-power firearms that were inconceivable when the amendments were originally penned, the 14th is interpreted to apply to all people born within our borders. In fact, that interpretation comes from the very Wong Kim decision Pearce erroneously cites as proof that anchor babies are really alien babies who should be sent home on the next saucer outta Roswell.
The 14th Amendment's citizenship clause, according to the court's majority, had to be interpreted in light of English common law tradition that had excluded from citizenship at birth only two classes of people: (1) children born to foreign diplomats and (2) children born to enemy forces engaged in hostile occupation of the country's territory. The majority held that the "subject to the jurisdiction" phrase in the 14th Amendment specifically encompassed these conditions (plus a third condition, namely, that Indian tribes were not considered subject to U.S. jurisdiction) - and that since none of these conditions applied to Wong's situation, Wong was a U.S. citizen, regardless of the fact that his parents were not U.S. citizens (and were, in fact, ineligible ever to become U.S. citizens because of the Chinese Exclusion Act).
Pearce appears to be construing "subject to the jurisdiction" as "have a green card in their pocket," which isn't mind-bogglingly narrow and stupid (although it is) so much as it is so incredibly transparently hypocritical as to barely merit a response. Because, in Pearce's book, undocumented people are double-dog subject to every other jurisdiction in the US, especially the ones that are now empowered to dump them on the other side of the fence from the Nogales Burger King if they don't have their birth certificates on them when they're pulled over for a busted taillight.
So there you have it. Pack up your kids and walk away from the better life you came here to give them, or... well, or forget about the better life thing altogether, because the Constitution only applies to people we think it applies to. And there's no point in writing laws, because people ignore them, unless, of course, it's a law that white people don't need to worry about, in which case WE ARE ALL ABOUT THE LAW, PEOPLE. Oh, Arizona. You never fail to disappoint.