August 13, 2010

THE HATE STAYS THE SAME, ONLY THE OBJECTS OF IT CHANGE:

Born in the U.S.A.: The misguided movement to strip birthright citizenship from the Constitution (Damon W. Root | August 11, 2010, Reason)

On March 27, 1866, President Andrew Johnson sent a message to Congress vetoing the landmark civil rights bill it had just passed. Among the provisions “which I cannot approve,” Johnson wrote, was the first section, which stated, “All persons born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States.”

Not only would this grant of birthright citizenship make citizens out of “the entire race designated as blacks,” Johnson complained, it would also make citizens out of “the Chinese of the Pacific States, Indians subject to taxation, [and] the people called Gipsies.” He wouldn’t sign it.

So the Radical Republicans of the 39th Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 over the president’s veto. As Sen. Lyman Trumbull (R-Ill.) declared from the Senate floor, “the child of an Asiatic is just as much a citizen as the child of a European.” Several months later, those same Republicans introduced legislation that became the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which, among other things, declared, “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.” Upon ratification in 1868, the 14th Amendment’s Citizenship Clause specifically overturned the Supreme Court’s notorious 1856 decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, which held that persons of African descent could never be U.S. citizens. It was a magnificent achievement for the young Republican Party.

Today, birthright citizenship is again under fire, only this time the attacks are coming primarily from the party that first put the guarantee into place.


Bad enough that the attackers are un-Republican, worse, they're un-American.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 13, 2010 6:11 AM
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