One might think that the Republican party, after losing an election in which approximately 70 per cent of the Latino vote went to the Democrats, in large part because of the Republicans' hard line on immigration, would become more serious about trying to change the agenda of hate against racial minorities which, among other things, has led to the anti-immigrant laws in Alabama, Arizona and other states. And there has been a lot of talk recently about the Republicans' starting to jump on the bandwagon of immigration reform.
But apparently, Republican Representative Steve King of Iowa has neither heard this talk nor looked at the election returns from last November. On January 4, 2013, he introduced a bill in the House to deprive "Anchor Babies" a vicious and degrading racial slur referring to the US-born children of predominantly Latino unauthorized immigrants, of the birthright citizenship guaranteed to them by the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.
There were 13 co-sponsors. One might call them a "Gang of 14" against the 14th Amendment. It is remarkable, to say the least, that while 100,000 people who call themselves Americans have signed a petition seeking to deport a British citizen, Piers Morgan, who is in the US legally, for opposing individual gun ownership rights purportedly granted by the 2nd Amendment, 14 members of Congress see nothing wrong with seeking to overturn the14th Amendment to the same US Constitution. Are the anti-immigrant lunatics trying to take over the Congressional asylum?
Representative King argues that the framers of the 14th Amendment did not know anything about children of "illegal immigrants", because there were no immigration laws at the time the Amendment was adopted shortly after the end of the Civil War. Therefore, he claims, the framers had no intent to bestow birthright citizenship on the US-born children of people who were in the US without permission.
But this argument is totally baseless. At least it has been for the past 114 years, ever since the Supreme Court's decision in US v, Wong Kim Ark, 169 US 649 (1898). However, while there may be good reason to question the political sanity of the Gang of 14, what about the moral sanity of an administration which, according to colorlines.com (December 17, 2012) deported more than 200,000 parents of US citizen children in just over two years, between July 1, 2010 and September 30, 2012!
Which is a greater danger to the welfare of hundreds of thousands, or possibly millions, of minority American children, 14 Republican members of Congress who introduce a bill to take away their US citizenship which has no chance of success whatsoever, or a Democratic administration which recognizes their US citizenship, but at the same time locks up and deports their parents?
Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years.