Birthright all wrong

-A A +A

Citizenship should be earned, not given away

By John Pawlak

The first week of the year started off with a bang.  Well, more of a loud laugh.  The new majority in the House decided to demonstrate that they are “dedicated to our Constitution and the principles for which it stands” and hence used a couple hours to read the U.S. Constitution.  
Well, they didn’t actually read the original version.  They skipped the part (Section 2) that defines a slave as being three-fifths of a free person.  The 13th Amendment did abolish slavery, but it didn’t apportion citizenship to the freed slaves. Two points for being free, but minus 10 for being morphed from property to aliens.
When they read the part about promoting the general welfare, did they think twice before initiating efforts to repeal health care coverage for tens of millions of Americans?  When reading the First Amendment, did the baggers insist that they omit the part about separation of church and state?  
Given current attitudes on civil liberties and personal freedoms, maybe they should have also omitted the “We the People” part?
I have no problem reading the Constitution as originally written.  It reminds me that as a nation, we’ve grown and hopefully will continue to grow. It is troublesome, however, to realize that regressive mentalities would have us move backwards toward the days when intolerance was not only accepted but institutionalized.  The arguments made for prohibiting admission of African Americans into our military were repeated almost verbatim when regressive mentalities again argued against admitting women to the military.  
And once again, small-minded people foretell the downfall of civilization if homosexuals are allowed to fight for our freedoms.
Oh man, there I go again.  Digress is my middle name.  I’ve written nearly half the column and I’ve barely touched on what I originally wanted to discuss - the Fourteenth Amendment.
When they read that amendment during their dog and pony show, Democrats applauded. The Fourteenth Amendment states “all persons born or naturalized in the United States” are automatically U.S. citizens.  An interesting side note, John McCain was born on an Army base in Panama, not in the United States.  
Hey birthers!  Are you reading this? Come to think of it, can you read?
The problem is that illegal aliens can cross the border, have a baby, and instantly have a U.S. citizen in the family.  
This is causing great concern since hundreds of billions of illegal aliens are giving birth to litters of 30 kids at a time (not to mention all the McCains over here now.)
And so Republicans are pushing to reinterpret the Fourteenth, arguing that automatic citizenship should only be given to babies of U.S. citizens.  This would prevent “anchor babies” from cashing in on the benefits afforded citizens.
Now, you’ve probably got the wrong impression as to my opinion on the amendment.  I agree with the Republicans.  The Fourteenth Amendment was not written with the intent to have foreigners play stork, fly over here, and deposit their babies into our national registry.  
The real reason (and a sad one) is that after the Thirteenth Amendment was passed, slave states refused to recognize citizenship for the freed slaves.  The architects of the Fourteenth could hardly have ever considered the problem of illegal immigration.
Citizenship should be earned, not given away.  We need due process.  To obtain citizenship, a person should take a test and demonstrate that they understand what it really means to be a citizen.  Simply being born here shouldn’t qualify someone as a citizen.
But wait!  What about kids born here by citizens? Why should they gain automatic citizenship?  This country loves testing people. We give IQ tests, eye tests, blood tests, stress tests, Rorschach tests, pregnancy tests. You can’t even drive a car without passing a test.  
Why should you be able to vote or enjoy the benefits of citizenship without doing the same?  Shouldn’t all people prove themselves before gaining citizenship?
Well, I’m ready to prove myself. Go ahead, test me. Who was the second president of the United States?  Benjamin Franklin, right? Okay, okay, ask me another. We’ll do two out of three!
John Pawlak
Los Alamos