GOP: Bring Back ‘Corruption of Blood’

latino ophanIt takes a certain kind of fortitude and leadership to take a strong stand against a small group of children. No, I’m not calling Congress “children.” Well, not directly. I’m referring to the barking by Republican leaders to repeal the 14th Amendment, which is interpreted to mean everyone (with few exceptions) born in the U.S. is automatically a U.S. citizen.

So far there have been calls for hearings to look into the issue. House Minority Leader John Boehner, shockingly even more tanorexic this week, said on Meet the Press, “It’s worth considering.”

Really? It’s really worth considering?

The Republicans’ “solution” for illegal immigrants living here is to make more people living here – illegal?

There is no hard data on actual “anchor babies.” It sounds widespread because it’s repeated often. There are only anecdotal claims. People in the immigrant community deny such a scheme exists. You don’t get citizenship from giving birth to a citizen. Illegal immigrants are having children because that’s what humans do. So “anchor babies” are the new “death panels.” And we’re talking about amending the entire constitution to ward against a conspiracy theory.

“I don’t think the founders understood when they did the 14th Amendment that they would create a circumstance where people could fly into America, all over the world and have a child and that child would have dual citizenship, fly back to their home countries,” said Republican Senator Jeff Sessions in an interview with ABC News.

If the Republicans get their hearings let’s start with how the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868, about 70 years after the death of the first president, Founding Father George Washington. The “founders” did not write the 14th Amendment.

Just so we keep our basic “founders are sacrosanct” civics straight.

What the founders did write was Article 3, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution regarding Treason. The document lays out the implications of treason, then says, “…but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.”

“Corruption of Blood” was an English law stating that if your parents committed treason, you were also stained. Meaning, you’re punished for the sins of your father or mother. But according to our founders, not in this new country. No. In this country the American Dream pivots on doing better than your parents by the will of you and your metaphor-worthy bootstraps. In this country it (theoretically) doesn’t matter from where or from whom you came, the dream can be yours, too.

I was raised in foster care. The state not only protected me from my parents, they were my parents. The wrongdoing, political affiliation or immigrant status of my biological family was never an issue because I was born here – and that’s just not America. There are a myriad of places where it matters who your parents are (college applications, scholarships – dating), but the state was concerned only with my welfare and wellbeing – completely indifferent to the shortcomings of my parents when it came to how I was treated. Besides, it’s impossible to have the “rugged individualism” narrative going if our citizen rights are tied to mommy and daddy’s documents being in order.

I benefited from a humanistic policy that was not wrapped in the myopic frenzy of political theater. If we could all be so lucky.

Now, to drum up hysteria about this alleged rash of pregnant Mexican border hoppers, the GOP’s idea is to change the Constitution so that being without papers is treated more harshly than treason. If your parents betray the country – you’re safe. But if they stay past the expiration of their student visa – buh-bye, kiddo! For being a party who rails against government bureaucracy their idea is a triplicate form of fear-baiting from the department of half-baked.

Is the Republican Party really calling for taking away children’s rights? Are they really “looking into” the government’s punishing kids for decisions their parents make? Do we really want lineage to be a deciding factor for civic life? Of course we don’t. We’re Americans. We’re a nation of coming-from-somewhere-else’s. We’re a nation of starting over, trying again and re-inventing ourselves.

Most importantly, we’re a nation that protects children – regardless of who their parents are. Even if their parents are politically desperate Republicans.

Tina Dupuy

Reposted with permission.


  1. SK says

    Tina Dupuy, your article is dishonest.

    You say, “The Republicans’ “solution” for illegal immigrants living here is to make more people living here – illegal?” First of all, it’s not just Repubs who think the birthright citizenship policy is stupid, Democrats see its failings as well. The bottom line is that this country can’t afford to pay for birthing costs, food, housing, medical care and education, including college education, for every single child whose non-American mother manages to get on American soil before giving birth.

    You show a picture of a cute kid as if changing the birthright citizenship rule would affect kids already born. It will NOT. It will have NO affect on anchor babies that are already citizens because their mothers made it to this country before giving birth. It will have NO affect on any foreign mother’s child already born, whether or not they still reside in this country.

    What a change to the archaic birthright citizenship rule WILL do is get rid of the incentive for future abuses. Updating the centuries old birthright citizenship rule that entices foreigners to sneak into this country to have children will simply allow us to stop PAYING for the children of those lawbreakers.

    The birthright citizenship concept was created back when people had to travel by foot to move to another area. The idea is that if families move from one country to another, their kids get to be citizens of the new country. Nowadays, foreign visitors can fly to the US as (or sneak across our border illegally), have a baby and fly right back to their country of origin, and then stick the American taxpayers with any and all future costs for raising and educating that baby they popped out on American soil. That’s just not right. It’s bad policy to have an enticement for foreigners to break the law, and it’s wrong force Americans to pay for other people’s kids, especially those who break the law to get here.

    Instead of telling the truth, Tina, your article says the Republican Party is calling for taking away children’s rights. That’s a lie. If they’re already born, they’re citizens. Period. This will only affect potential children of future lawbreakers. Modernizing the birthright citizenship law to reflect how easy it is to fly into the US to have a baby does NOT mean the government will be punishing kids for decisions their parents make. It means foreign parents will no longer be able to rip off American taxpayers. Even after we remove the enticement to break the law by sneaking over the border to have a kid, and even after we stop “birthright tourism,” an actual industry that encourages people to fly in to the US to have a kid here, US taxpayers will still be responsible for paying for all children of foreigners who were born here before we change the law.

    Please don’t imply that people don’t come here to have kids. I’ve worked for travel agencies that specifically target foreign travelers with “testimony” of others from their country who flew to Hawaii, had their baby on US soil, and now reap the benefits of having American children even if they take their kids back to be raised in their home country. Since they got automatic citizenship, those kids are eligible for freebies such as housing, food, welfare, health care and college funding as well as priority for admissions, all paid for by the American taxpayers.

    By the way, this change won’t be a burden to legal citizens and visitors. If you drive a car or have a Social Security number and a SS card, then you showed a birth certificate to get those two documents. It’s not cumbersome, we’re already going through that process just to be able to drive and work (legally) in this country. It’s only the illegal aliens that will find it a problem to have to prove their kids are citizens, because their kids won’t be if we modernize the birthright citizenship rule.

    It’s long past time to change the birthright citizenship rule to reflect the modern world where people travel quickly and cheaply and where most of the world would like to take advantage of American taxpayers. It’s not hysterical to make this change. What’s hysterical is the naïve response that says we’re “going after the children” if our country makes this change. That’s not just nonsense, it’s a lie.

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