Arizona continues its campaign to stamp out all aspects of minority existence with a proposed law that would deny birth certificates to children of illegal immigrants in the state. From Rep. John Kavanagh, a Republican supporter of the bill:
“If you go back to the original intent of the drafters … it was never intended to bestow citizenship upon (illegal) aliens,” said Kavanagh, who also supported Senate Bill 1070 — the law that gave Arizona authorities expanded immigration enforcement powers.
There’s a slight problem with the legislation: it blatantly violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Section 1 of the 14th Amendment:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
I love it when present-day lawmakers use the phrase “it was never the intent” when they begin theorizing what the Framers of our government meant when they enacted laws. The 14th Amendment, like the 13th and 15th Amendments, were enacted during Reconstruction to extend full citizenship to newly freed slaves. The 14th Amendment granted citizenship to the children of former slaves who were born before the end of the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. It overruled the Dred Scott decision of 1857, which declared blacks were not and could never be citizens of the U.S. Slaves were not considered citizens (HELLO, they were counted as three-fifths of a person), thus not given the full protection of the law.
Present-day states rights lawmakers, looking to seize on the thriving anti-Hispanic sentiment harbored by many of their constituents, consistently use the “intent” argument to push their anti-immigrant, racist, xenophobic and nationalist agendas down the throats of the citizenry at large. This law, much like the racist “Papers, Please” law enacted in that state earlier this year, oversteps the state’s authority in enforcing citizenship and violates the basic constitutional right granted to every citizen.
No matter how the representative from Arizona wants to frame his racist, anti-immigrant argument, the bottom line is no state has the legal authority to revoke the rights granted to us in the Constitution, including the children of illegal immigrants.