Due in large part to a lack of honest-to-goodness immigration reform and a tightening of our borders, some conservatives are calling for changes to the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. At issue are illegal immigrants who are having children in the U.S. for the purpose of those children gaining citizenship.

 So where is the problem? The 14th Amendment says: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.”

Of course liberals and even some GOPers are claiming conservatives are just playing politics with our Constitution. While true, we only have ourselves to blame. Failure to pass (even address) true immigration reform in the U.S. House or Senate and simply tossing more money for more border agents will not solve the problem. Really who can blame conservatives for taking this approach? Their cries for, dare I say “change,” have fallen on deaf ears.

So, a push is under way to Constitutionally deny automatic citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants.

Adoption of the 14th Amendment in 1868 was in part a response by Congress to overturn the Dred Scott Decision which stated that people of African decent imported to the U.S. and held as slaves and their descendants were not protected by the Constitution and could not be citizens. In essence The 14th Amendment overturned Dred Scott. The authors were mostly Republicans, this of course was a time when it meant something much different to be a member of this party.

As of Aug. 13, 2010, the National Republican website blazes with a headline that reads “Republicans Passed the 14th Amendment.” The GOP still lists the 14th as one of their greatest accomplishments.

On one hand they claim authorship and bestow praise upon themselves, while on the other hand they call for its overhaul. At a politically advantageous time, this discussion is little more than a ploy by some to move further to right. They know change to the 14th is not likely, needing two-thirds support in both the U.S. Senate and House, the votes are not there.

Adding fuel to the discussion is a new twist. Claims that terror organizations are bringing women to the U.S for purpose of having their children here, granting the children U.S. citizenship. Rep. Louie Gohmer (R-Texas) has been making the media rounds hit the House floor making such claims. According to Gohmer, Islamic terror groups are sending women here to have children, then taking them to the homeland with the anticipation that when they are older they will return as terrorists to do us harm.

Across the United States, even here in Maine, the GOP is using information fed to them by hate groups and shouting it from the rooftops. State Rep. Richard Cebra (R-Naples) has been pouring gas on the fire, regurgitating statements made by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an organization recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.

There is little coincidence that this issue is coming up for debate just months before the midterm elections. Unhappy with the direction of their own party, conservative Republicans are reaching for anything they can to engage in debate, even willing to align themselves with hate groups, all in an effort to move further to the right.

Changing the Constitution so that children of illegal immigrants will no longer have automatic citizenship will not stop the problem facing our borders. For many around the world the United States is still the land of opportunity, we provide a hope and a chance. Men, women and children of all ages will continue to risk their lives to cross the border. By altering the 14th we will simply weaken the United States and still not have fixed the problem.


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