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In 2011, Birthright Citizenship in the Crosshairs

In 2011, Birthright Citizenship in the Crosshairs

Yesterday, a coalition of anti-immigrant lawmakers from 14 states unveiled their much-anticipated birthright citizenship bill. The measure would thwart the 14th Amendment by denying citizenship to the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants. 

As Julianna Hing notes at ColorLines, sponsors unabashedly admit that, after passing the legislation at the state level, they aim to push it through Congress. If passed, it would effectively become federal law while at the same time force a court case challenging the traditional application of the 14th Amendment.

The bill is is unlikely to do much more than upset the national debate on immigration reform, but it’s nevertheless a sobering reminder of how far some conservatives will go to segregate immigrants further. While immigration reform advocates faced an uphill struggle last year, with few victories to show for it, the stakes are even higher in 2011, as immigration issues become more brazenly racially divisive.

Arizona’s retrogressive policy takes effect

In the “Papers Please” state, where the birthright citizenship bill will make its debut, a controversial K-12 ethnic studies ban has already gone into effect—prohibiting curricula that promotes ethnic solidarity or is designed for students of a particular race or ethnicity. Attorney General Tom Horne, who proposed the ban while he was the superintendent of public instruction, has unabashedly singled out the Tuscon Unified School District (TUSD)’s Mexican American Studies program as its target.

Alex DiBranco reports at Change.org that—prior to assuming his new position as attorney general—Horne declared the TUSD to be in violation of the newly enacted law and threatened to withhold $15 million in funds from the school district if it failed to eliminate the Mexican American Studies program within 60 days. TUSD, for its part, is appealing the law while refusing to alter its curriculum.

Immigrant growth results in more Congressional seats…for Republicans

The results of the 2010 census are in and, thanks to a considerable boost in the new immigrant population, southern and western states are now set to gain additional Congressional seats. Sarah Kate Kramer at Feet in 2 Worlds reports that Hispanics, in particular, accounted for at least half of the growth in Texas, Florida, Nevada and Arizona.

While the growth of the Hispanic population has undoubtedly contributed to the election of a number of Hispanic legislators and could set the stage for greater political representation in the long term, the immediate effect of the apportionment looks bleak. The irony, as Kramer notes, is that while immigrant growth secured the apportionment of new congressional seats, those seats will represent predominately Republican states—effectively increasing the power of anti-immigrant lawmakers.

Few victories for immigrants

At the dawn of a new year, undocumented immigrants have gained little ground. New America Media/La Opinion reports that unemployment is still very high in sectors, such as construction, that typically employ large numbers of undocumented laborers, and remains high for Latinos, in particular.

Congress also failed to pass the bipartisan and politically popular DREAM Act, letting down scores of undocumented youth, and Arizona’s SB 1070 is spreading like wildfire to other states. To top it off, 2010 proved to be a record year for deportations—meaning that 2011 is seeing the largest number of divided families to date.

Obama Administration dropped the ball on immigration

The retrogressive nature of the immigration debate has a lot to do with the rise of conservative extremism following President Barack Obama’s election. In the past year, anti-immigrant lawmakers have gone to unprecedented lengths to commandeer immigration reform, defy the Obama administration’s policy goals and, in general, make quite a clamor. But reform advocates, too, have done their fair share to muck up the prospect of comprehensive immigration reform.

As Monica Potts at TAPPED argues, the administration’s consistent focus on enforcement, at the expense of comprehensive reform, pushed the immigration debate further to the right—and may have even cost Democrats the Hispanic vote:

President Obama embraced conservatives’ enforcement rhetoric by ramping up deportations without prioritizing reform. This was a self-defeating approach: by buying into a harsh enforcement paradigm, he made the argument for reform much harder.

Whether the administration has learned from its 2010 mistakes remains to be seen. If not, then the gun-slinging lawmen of Arizona will continue defining the nation’s most pressing immigration issues.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint.

TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition to protect the 14th Amendment.

 

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Photo Credit: Sarah Klockars-Clauser
by Catherine A. Traywick, Media Consortium blogger

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139 comments

+ add your own
1:54PM PDT on Sep 28, 2012

Thank you.

1:52PM PDT on Sep 28, 2012

Thank you.

11:26AM PDT on Jun 9, 2011

Here are some facts.

The vast majority of illegals are from Mexico.

Mexico is a third world country with a high birth rate and approximately 111 million people.

In 1940 Mexico's population was about 20 million.

More than 50 million Latinos, the majority Mexicans, are living in the U.S. It is estimated that this number will grow to 127 million in 2050.

The Latino high school drop out rate is in many cases already more than 50%, causing many Latinos to live a life of poverty.

If you like that the U.S. slowly but surely is changing into a third world Latino nation, that just sit back and enjoy the show!

3:04PM PST on Feb 20, 2011

Hispanics should NEVER be voting Republican, since their racial bias is so obvious. Repubs are the ones who propose these draconian racist laws.
Really!? Why is that in the Constitution? How racist?

So why would the Hispanic vote turn against the Dems?
Cause the Dems seek to keep them down!

President Obama has made it a priority to get a workable immigration reform bill in the works.
Not workable. No borders. so those that take from the Gov will be able to outvote those that pay the Gov.

He talks about immigration reform all the time.
Then why go after AZ?

And they have heard the racist remarks about Obama, so they can empathize with him and against the Repubs.
What racist remarks?

It's obvious who is working for equal rights.
Not Obama! In fact equal rights has always been a hallmark of the GOP. Without them no Civil Rights!

I find this very confusing because it's so obvious who befriends Hispanics.
Not Dems. They seek to keep them down on the farm!

And, for all people who are immigrant-haters, ... unless your name is Red Cloud, you are an immigrant in this country. Get your head on straight.
Show me an immigrant hater! And make sure it is not someone that merely speaks out against those here illegally!

5:48PM PST on Feb 17, 2011

I get confused on this issue.

Hispanics should NEVER be voting Republican, since their racial bias is so obvious. Repubs are the ones who propose these draconian racist laws.

So why would the Hispanic vote turn against the Dems?

President Obama has made it a priority to get a workable immigration reform bill in the works.

He talks about immigration reform all the time.

And they have heard the racist remarks about Obama, so they can empathize with him and against the Repubs.

It's obvious who is working for equal rights.

I find this very confusing because it's so obvious who befriends Hispanics.

And, for all people who are immigrant-haters, ... unless your name is Red Cloud, you are an immigrant in this country. Get your head on straight.

12:26AM PST on Jan 22, 2011

thanks

6:22PM PST on Jan 12, 2011

Signed this petition thanx

8:59PM PST on Jan 11, 2011

This is just a ploy by republicans to dissiminate their hate and make political points. What happened in Arizona, may not be directly related, but it shows what loose lips sink "ships" in this case we are going to sink this country with hate in order to gain POLITICAL power, maybe we deserve the kind of society we have build.Ironically Mrs Giffords was shot by a legal gun bought in the same State, if people from Arizona were more civilized no one should be allow to own a gun, much less carry it with you in the streets.
ARIZONIANS WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE ARE YOU, WHY NOT PONDER ON THAT.

2:47PM PST on Jan 11, 2011

Tavis...FIRST...the Continent is America...not this country..this country is the United States OF America...just as the other countries on this continent are on American soil...the label is for the ignorant in this country just like YOU.
Second...The residents of this land HAD laws and they tried to expel the Invaders when they abused their hospitality.
FINALLY...luckily YOU are not the Congress who passed the 14th Amendment to allow the Children to become citizens...you dont get to determine that.

2:37PM PST on Jan 11, 2011

Due to the recent attempted MURDER of their local Congressional REp..these comments from locals tell a interesting tail...ignorance is rampant in AZ

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