Thursday, August 20, 2015

Digging under the weeds

Just because I like things to be complete, and because the previous post was long enough, I add this by way of an update:

In the 1980s, the question of birthright citizenship began to take a similar shape as the “anchor baby” panic we see today. In their influential 1985 book Citizenship Without Consent: Illegal Aliens in the American Polity scholars Peter Schuck and Rogers Smith argued that Congress could deny birthright citizenship to the children of unauthorized migrants, noting that Wong Kim Ark involved the child of lawfully admitted noncitizens. Both opposed the idea as a matter of policy.
Graglia leans heavily on this book in his argument, but doesn't give Schuck and Smith credit for the legal argument he tacitly claims as his own.  Still, there's no difference between them:  both rest on the idea that the parents of Wong Kim Ark were here legally, and so children of illegal immigrants have no birthright citizenship.

I still don't get the distinction, which Graglia rests on legal immigrants in America being subject to foreign authority, while "illegal" immigrants in America are....not?  That really just doesn't make any sense, especially in light of the cases holding that "persons" are entitled to due process and equal protection of laws in America, not just "citizens."

These people just really don't like the idea of non-Europeans in America.


  1. I see it as what some old Boston cynic said about how you won elections by "getting the haters together". The Republican right and their corporate sponsors have made racism, anti-Latino bigotry and hatred and paranoia, in general, the winning combination for them. That can't work if the white folk who they can get out to vote aren't afraid or aren't a majority and there is no way that they can stay the majority in many states they've depended on.

    This is the lowest of gutter politics and the free "press" is the major means of spreading the filth. TV is the means of delivery of poison that is more dangerous than anthrax and imported terrorism. I seem to notice it flares up around elections, in this case the Republican race to the bottom where the nomination lies.

  2. How can legal immigrants not be subject to US authority? How can anybody not be when in our territory (save diplomats)? These guys love pretzels more than I do...

  3. ntodd--I know, right?

    TC--I realized yesterday how much context matters here. Texas is already a "minority/majority" state, meaning Hispanics and Blacks outnumber whites in what is the second most populous state in the country.

    And that change in status quo is starting to scare hell outta white people, some of whom are sure the browns and blacks wanna do to whites what whites did to them for centuries.

    A not unreasonable fear, all things considered; but not likely to happen, either. Still, that's what we are seeing, at least on the fringes (Trump is still a fringe candidate, IMHO). A lower level of intensity, less localized response similar to the one created by Brown v. Board and then the civil rights marches.

    "May you live in interesting times" is a Chinese curse, right? Or at least it should be.....