The 14th amendment should be watched closely
In a scene dripping with irony, a Northern White man addressed a crowd of Southern White people, in Alabama of all places, and denounced the U.S. Constitution’s 14th amendment, which guarantees “birthright citizenship.” “They don’t do that in other countries,” crowed Donald Trump, we’re the only country that’s stupid enough to do it.”
We get it, there are hundreds and thousands of Europeans in this country illegally, with at least 50,000 Irish so-called illegals alone. Something has to be done about their ability to have their pale children claim birthright citizenship. Of course the debate over birthright citizenship is not focused at all on Europeans, but the darker hued folks, especially Mexicans and Asians.
The debate over birthright citizenship among the conservatives is not something that folks should ignore. Whenever the narrow minded and backward begin throwing out ideas, one has to stop and take notice, especially when the ideas have to do with people of color.
The concept of “jus soli” or “right of the soil,” is the Latin term for granting automatic citizenship to anyone born in a territory or country, including children of undocumented immigrants. The concept is a progressive one and makes sense considering that the United States was founded by and settled by immigrants.
So, any time there is talk about revoking the 14th amendment, especially the citizenship clause, African descendants of slaves ought to pay close attention. It was this amendment that made citizens of the former slaves, but unfortunately left out Native Americans under the claim that they were part of independent nations, thus not under U.S. “jurisdiction.”
The 14th Amendment was the radical Republicans attempt to concretize the essence of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which was passed to clear up doubts about the rights of Black folks. Yes, the radical Republicans were saying the freed people have the franchise. And the word is radical, the twin parties of U.S. imperialism have switched positions; the Republicans formerly known as the party of Lincoln were the liberals at that time. Moreover, the amendment was passed in response to the attempt to re-enslave the newly freed Africans and it rejected out-right the Supreme Court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision.
Oddly, in most of the talk about birthright citizenship, which is what the 14th amendment guarantees, conservatives fail to mention this history, or its origin and the reason birthright citizenship was adopted. I suspect they don’t want to wake folks up, nor educate a basically ahistorical populace to the truth of its more diabolical racial history.
Many of the Republican candidates have jumped on this bandwagon but somebody should whisper to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (the son of Indian immigrants), Senator Ted Cruz (who was born in Canada), and Ben Carson, an African American descendant of slaves, that without birthright citizenship they would not be citizens. And for being so foolish they should be the first ones to have their citizenship revoked. Poor well-educated Ben Carson doesn’t know that the 14th amendment made his great-great-great-great grandmother a citizen.
Ultimately, it’s all part of the game of divide and rule. This is just another wedge issue that keeps us from seeing one another as what we are at bottom — human beings. Who do they suggest should determine citizenship? Will it be the same kind of folks who wanted to deprive folks of their rights to citizenship in the first place?
Mel Reeves welcomes reader response to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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