Saturday, June 12, 2010


As I said yesterday, the demographics are grim for the Republicans.  America is growing less and less white and the GOP sees that as a direct threat to their power base.  The "cultural protectionist" card that they have been playing for the last couple of decades is now starting to backfire tremendously as antipathy towards African-Americans, Latinos, and gays (and hey let's not forget Republicans attacking their own either over race) are driving more and more minorities away from the GOP for good.

The Republicans see the key to this not changing their own ingrained bigotry, but by denying citizenship to children of illegal immigrants in violation of the 14th Amerndment (and hoping for the Roberts Court to approve of it.)  Once again, the laboratory of democracy bigotry is the state of Arizona.
Buoyed by recent public opinion polls suggesting they're on the right track with illegal immigration, Arizona Republicans will likely introduce legislation this fall that would deny birth certificates to children born in Arizona — and thus American citizens according to the U.S. Constitution — to parents who are not legal U.S. citizens. The law largely is the brainchild of state Sen. Russell Pearce, a Republican whose suburban district, Mesa, is considered the conservative bastion of the Phoenix political scene. He is a leading architect of the Arizona law that sparked outrage throughout the country: Senate Bill 1070, which allows law enforcement officers to ask about someone's immigration status during a traffic stop, detainment or arrest if reasonable suspicion exists — things like poor English skills, acting nervous or avoiding eye contact during a traffic stop.
If you have any doubts that Arizona is the vanguard of a coordinated, national effort by Republicans to rid the country of "undesirables" who will not vote GOP, I'm sure the actions of the Arizona GOP has put that to rest.  This should bury it for good:
The question is whether that would violate the U.S. Constitution. The 14th Amendment states that "all persons, born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." It was intended to provide citizenship for freed slaves and served as a final answer to the Dred Scott case, cementing the federal government's control over citizenship.
But that was 1868. Today, Pearce says the 14th Amendment has been "hijacked" by illegal immigrants. "They use it as a wedge," Pearce says. "This is an orchestrated effort by them to come here and have children to gain access to the great welfare state we've created." Pearce says he is aware of the constitutional issues involved with the bill and vows to introduce it nevertheless. "We will write it right." He and other Republicans in the red state Arizona point to popular sympathy: 58% of Americans polled by Rasmussen think illegal immigrants whose children are born here should not receive citizenship; support for that stance is 76% among Republicans. 
Republicans complained bitterly about Obama's creeping fascism and the dangers of his coming police state tha would bend America to his will, screaming about dark fantasies involving concentration camps and the coming armed rebellion...and these are the same people who see no problem subverting the Constitution to get rid of Latinos whose children may grow up one day to really, really not like the Republican Party.

The larger question is that all this will be going before the Roberts Court for certainty.  The fact that would almost certainly be four of the five votes in favor of making Arizona's discriminatory laws the new national standard on day one is exactly what the Republicans are counting on here.  For all their complaining of activist judges, Republicans are looking to recreate Jim Crow laws for the 21st century, and are expecting the Supreme Court to find a way to make it legal.

If your citizenship under the Constitution can be denied you under the laws of states, then America is in deep, deep trouble.  And you can bet Republicans are eager to define who qualifies as a "real American".

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