The Obselescence of the Fourteenth Amendment

The following quote is from Boston Globe Columnist Jeff Jacoby:

“Our nation has been enriched – not “overrun” – because of birthright citizenship. The 19th-century nativists who feared otherwise were wrong. Their intellectual heirs today are, too.”

If economists Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff ever decide to write a sequel to “This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly”, perhaps they should entitle it This Time Is The Same”, and explore simplistic arguments predicated on imagined similarities where things actually ARE different.

The first Chapter could be devoted to the” immigration” debate (although the words immigrant and immigration are debased of meaning when applied to people who knowingly invade another country). As somebody who actually knew 19th century IMMIGRANTS (great grandparents, passed through Ellis Island, legally, were naturalized, sending one son to Europe and the other to Tarawa) these arguments ring hollow.

I say this because I remember my great grandmother, who died in her mid-90’s in the early 1980’s, having emigrated in her youth from what would be the epicenter of World War I. Decades after naturalizing, in her eighties and nineties, she still carefully retained municipal tax records from as early as the 1920’s in a trunk with other documents to maintain a record of worthy citizenship. It was the result of an attitude where LEGAL entry was the “path to citizenship” and that citizenship was valuable because it came dearly. That was just one of a myriad of ways she used to demonstrate allegiance to, and compliance with the laws of her new country. Its a jolting memory when I see hordes of illegals marching in the streets and threatening violence and given a forum by the Lamestream Media.

So yes, them and folks like them, who came to make it on their own merits, did enrich the country. There was no welfare state, and my great-grandfather fed his children with the wages gained working long hours in a filthy black pit called an anthracite coal mine. He and others of his ethnicity suffered innumerable insults and abuses, often at the hands of other ethnic groups, who themselves were abused immigrants in preceding decades.

His English was poor, but then again so were the pieces of the 3 or 4 other languages other than his own he picked up working merchant ships while saving enough money to pay for the transportation of his young wife to a new home an ocean away, hopeful that she wouldn’t be sent back based on the caprice of some petty tyrant working in Ellis Island).  He preserved and survived, if not prospered.

Today, we have people who slip in the cover of night en masse and immediately “enrich” the nation by becoming wards of the state, marching in the streets, and insisting that parts of this country are really the property of a foreign nation that is so wonderful they were compelled to leave it.

Then there’s an even more insidious threat, the one where the “immigrant” is really a warrior to a foreign cause, and who is the vanguard of subjugation and enslavement, who wants to use freedom of religion only until it can be eliminated.

Those people that came here decades ago weren’t seeking rights with responsibilities, support without effort, or acclimation to their ways.

Some LEGAL immigrants, I work with (generally well-educated Indians with IT backgrounds-I hope stay, even though some won’t). Why? They work hard, are intelligent, amiable and engaging, and seem to harbor no hostility towards the country that will either provide them with either an opportunity to develop a career in what is increasingly a project-based industry with global labor procurement or a new home. They aren’t insisting we become Hindus or that driver licensing examinations be issued in their language. Their skin is brown, their customs different and nobody cares because they understand they are here, we aren’t there. There’s also a small contingent of (other) Asians, same deal minus the brown skin.  In fact, I would prefer their company over some preachy academic and media types, I’m sure.

The problem is, the world changed. There was no Islamofascism or welfare state one hundred plus years ago.  If you think a borderless nation can survive, try reviewing the history of the first Americans, who had no concept of borders and no means of enforcing them with restricted entry.  The Fourteenth Amendment was enacted to protect the rights of former slaves, and they have all passed on. Although I think politicians (especially McCain and his useless boy blunder, Graham) are posturing, given the near impossibility of obtaining the supermajorities needed, there’s nothing wrong with considering the repeal of birthright citizenship.  All legal enactments need periodic reconsideration, especially given the annoying tendencies of courts to deface them with wordplay. It’s wise to consider whether the protections of one century create perils in another. If you think repealing amendments a terrible idea, well then there’s the conundrum of bring back prohibition.

Access controls are as much a useful method for protecting as the integrity of political entity as it is for a business. (Of course, we know newspaper types don’t know how to run a business). To diminish everybody who wants to minimize the risks of unlawful entry as ignorant dolts from the nineteenth century shows ignorance, not enlightenment.

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