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Dropping Terror Babies

August 13th, 2010

Rep. Gohmert (R-TX) was the main one claiming that “pregnant terrorists” come to America to give birth to babies who will later become terrorists, using their birthright citizenship against America so as to destroy it. About as extreme an anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, paranoid right-wing freakout as you could expect to hear.

Imagine everyone’s surprise when the FBI announced that they theory was, as they put it, “never credible.” Me, I think they should investigate Gohmert under suspicion of giving aid and comfort to the enemy, ’cause I bet that terrorists in all parts of the world sure enough heard this theory and just as sure got some pretty good chuckles from it.

As a side note: my own stand on amending the 14th Amendment to the Constitution to prevent illegal immigrants from having “anchor babies” is ambivalent. On the one hand, the provision is somewhat out of date, having been constructed to grant citizenship to former slaves who were born in the U.S. but were never officially granted citizenship. It was not really intended to allow children of people in the country illegally to obtain citizenship, intentionally or otherwise.

As a result, I am not strongly against repealing that provision of the amendment. However, not now. Why? Because right now the movement to repeal is not based upon reason or intent to clarify the original intent of the law. Rather, it is a highly political and racially charged movement of which I want no part.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is simply the most visible right-winger to state it in an only thinly-veiled manner: “People come here to have babies. They come here to drop a child. It’s called ‘drop and leave.’” While Graham attributed the term to immigrants, there is no evidence of such phraseology existing before he said it. What is of specific note here is the term “drop”: the word is used to denote animal birth, as in to “drop a foal” or to “drop a litter.” Using it in reference to people is, in this case, rather blatantly racist, and attributing it to their own terminology is nothing more than an excuse to use such racist terms. And since Graham used that term, it’s all over the place now; many on the far right, taking Limbaugh’s cue, love to use openly racist terms so long as they can point to any pre-existing use as an excuse. Which is one of the reasons I would not agree to repealing the law at this time–not for these reasons, and certainly not with this crowd.

In part, it’s similar to the drive to amend the Constitution so as to allow naturalized citizens to become president–ironically, one that the right wing has abandoned since Obama came to office and they wanted to press the Birther claim. The reason right-wingers were so big on it up until recently was because they were still greatly enamored of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and felt he had a good shot at the presidency, if only it weren’t for that whole Constitution thing. Now, in principle, I think it’d be just fine to allow naturalized citizens that ability; my father is one, for example, and I think he’d have made a better president than some we’ve had, for sure. But I will not stand with the crowd who want to change the Constitution for political reasons.

If we change the Constitution, the intent has to be pure. It should never be a flash-in-the-pan political fad, and it should never have at its roots racist or paranoid delusions. After all, think of cases that are interpreted based on framers’ intent–what would a judge have to conclude when noting that the framers of a constitutional amendment were passing it to win an election by appealing to voters’ racist inclinations?

In the future, when we’ve calmed down a bit, maybe. But not now.

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  1. Troy
    August 13th, 2010 at 08:39 | #1

    It’s been a longstanding tradition in Chinese circles to come to America to have the kid.

    Bruce Lee was born that way.

    Graham later “clarified” his comment to say that was what he was referring to.

    Plus where I am the Indians in the tech community all have young kids now.

    But yeah, in the scheme of things this really isn’t a big deal, compared to illegal immigration. If we in fact determine to deport the parents, they should be free to take their child back with them.

    I did figure out how to solve the illegal immigration problem, however: if someone hires an illegal immigrant, we deport that person to the immigrant’s origin.

  2. Geoff K
    August 13th, 2010 at 10:51 | #2

    Just because some people support something for the wrong reason doesn’t make it a bad idea. Right now, one American baby in 12 is born to illegal immigrant parents. Once the baby is born, the new “citizen” can’t easily be deported, and is eligible for health care, education and numerous expensive benefits. In a country that’s arguably bankrupt, that kind of largess is hard to justify.

    There’s no compelling reason why entering a country illegally should make your children citizens of it. They should be just as subject to deportation as their parents are.

    By the way, it doesn’t work that way in Japan. At least one parent has to be a Japanese citizen at the time of birth for the child to also be a Japanese citizen, even if he/she is born in Japan.

  3. Tim Kane
    August 13th, 2010 at 12:08 | #3

    @Geoff K
    Of course, the nation wouldn’t be “arguably bankrupt” if it hadn’t spent the last 30+ years soaking the poor to feed the rich in an effort to destroy the great and powerful middle class nation that Roosevelt created.

    Nothing in the United States happens without Big Money behind it. In the case of immigration, Big Money likes cheap labor, so it was allowed. If immigration was a threat to Big Money they would be mowing down illegals at the boarder with machine guns. How do I know? Because Big Money was against Health Care reform, even though 41,000 American citizens were dying every year for lack of health insurance that the rest of the world takes for granted.

    In a similar vein, information systems are corporations biggest single cost. Big Money hates that. So during Bush’s presidency the quota for H1B visas was lifted multiple times (by executive order). I was pushed out of my career as a Systems Designer by the flood of H1B visas allowed during the Bush administration (the two years I spent in Law School pushed me to the bottom of the list, and H1Bs pushed me off the list).

    Now I’m here in Korea where I find that there are thriving businesses that work solely to help women give birth in the United States to ensure that they have dual citizenship babies, so they can easily move in and out of the United States.

    The Amendment needs to be changed. Illegal activity, such as illegal immigrantion for the purposes of having a baby in the United States, should not be rewarded.

    I’m as liberal as they come on most issues, but most especially economic issues, which makes me right of center on immigration. Correspondingly, I think we should be forcing places like Mexico to liberalize their society and economic policy so that it has a larger more prosperous middle class.

    The way things stand, we are importing Mexico’s social-economic system, when they should have been importing what was once ours, which is still Canada’s. The farther north you go, in North America, the better society you get, because the society and economy is more liberal.

  4. Troy
    August 13th, 2010 at 13:11 | #4

    Of course, the nation wouldn’t be “arguably bankrupt” if it hadn’t spent the last 30+ years soaking the poor to feed the rich in an effort to destroy the great and powerful middle class nation that Roosevelt created.

    We just need to start forcibly converting these treasury bond buyers into actual taxpayers again :) Every gov’t bond sold (other than to the Fed, LOL) is a missed tax or tariff opportunity AFAIC.

    And it wasn’t just Roosevelt, GINI declined until 1972 . . .


    The end of cheap oil and the profits from capturing rising land values resulted in a lot of the accumulating income disparity. The Reaganoid changes gave us that big push back into feudalism of course.


    The farther north you go, in North America, the better society you get

    And that SUCKS. What I want is Canada’s economics with Mexico’s beaches. What we need is a United States of North America perhaps, everything down to Panama in one big happy multilingual, multicultural family. NAFTA on steroids, LOL.

  5. Kensensei
    August 14th, 2010 at 11:55 | #5

    I’m gonna agree with Geoff on this one; the U.S. should follow the Japan model by granting citizenship to the baby ONLY IF one or more parents are citizens at the time of birth. That seems a fair compromise.

    For me, undocumented workers has always been a double-edge sword. I can sympathize with Arizonans because of the flagrant influx of illegals taking their toll on the local quality of life, education, crime and even the housing market. More importantly, the Mexican gangs seem to think they have a foothold there since no one has found a way to oust them.

    On the other hand, the benefits of low-cost labor are too big to ignore. I am convinced that a mass exodus of undocumented workers from the US would wreak havoc on the entire economy. Could you imagine the cost of fresh produce picked by blue collar labor unions? They would strike until their demands for higher pensions were met. In the meantime, all the produce would rot by the wayside.

    So here are some words of wisdom for those who want to oust all undocumented workers; “be careful what you wish for…”

    Sorry if I am off-topic here.


  6. Luis
    August 14th, 2010 at 12:16 | #6

    For me, intent is very important. Intent is the heart of a movement. The goal is important, but not as important as other considerations–ergo the expression, “the end does not justify the means.” The intent, the means–and the company we keep also is sometimes important–for example, I am sure that Geoff sees freedom of religion as an important goal, but would not want to walk to that goal hand-in-hand with Islamic extremist radicals who colluded with the 9/11 terrorists.

    As I said, I would be fine with repealing that provision and restricting citizenship by lineage rather than by location. But not with the current groundswell, which is steeped in racism, driven by fear-mongering, and essentially a vehicle for political opportunism, in response to a larger problem–illegal immigration–which is in fact our fault, in which we invite these desperate people to work for us (we demand low prices for food, textiles, and labor, while failing to punish employers who actively seek these people), but give the workers no valid legal status, pay them a pittance, enjoy the benefits of their labor–and then we turn around and viciously demonize them, use them as scapegoats, unjustly blaming them for any number of social ills, most of which are in fact our own failings.

    The entire movement is dark with the worst of what we have to offer, and I wish no part of it. That’s essentially what I am saying here.

  7. Kensensei
    August 16th, 2010 at 01:26 | #7

    Yes, point taken.
    I agree North Americans need to take more responsibility for the current influx of illegal immigrants if the issue is to be resolved. I have come to understand the hypocrisy of blaming those working illegally in the US for our social ills on the one hand, while reaping their benefits on the other.

    Having said that, I lend my support to the new Arizona Immigration Law if that is what is required to get a handle on their state’s crisis. Other state’s have no business boycotting Arizona’s goods/commerce just because they disagree with their strict policies on immigration. So far, however, the new law has not withstood the constitutionality test.

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