Andrew McCullough's Blog

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Our Constitutional Freedoms

May 26, 2010

With all the fuss about "tea party" candidates, and their alleged dedication to the "original intent" of the Constitution, there is much to say. Here in Utah, many Republicans celebrated loudly over the defeat of the so-called "RINO" Republican Senator, Bob Bennett. One of the issues that was important there is that of "illegal immigrants". That term seems to get people all excited, though I wonder exactly why. A couple of years ago, the Feds made a big noise when they raided a meat packing plant near Logan and seized a number of "illegal immigrants" working there. I cannot easily imagine a less enjoyable job than working in a meat packing plant. The simple fact is that Americans won't work there, so the jobs go to Mexicans, who need the work so badly that they are willing to do it. The same goes for the back-breaking work of picking fruit and vegetables. Americans simply will not do it, so Mexicans come up and do it for us. Does anyone really think we are safer or better off financially when groups of these workers are rounded up and deported?

The bedrock of American Constitutional protection against an overreaching government is found in the text of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. It is what protects us from unreasonable actions of State governments. And here it is, in all its majesty and simplicity:

Section 1. 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 and 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.

Prior to its enactment at the end of the Civil War, there was no really American identity. Citizenship was a State issue; and therefore States were at liberty to treat their citizens as they pleased. And members of the LDS Church bore the brunt of that fact when the State of Missouri issued an "extermination order" for Mormons. And all pleas to the Federal government were met with the answer "Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you."

Now both Republican Senate candidates want to "reinterpret" the Fourteenth Amdmendment to say that not "All persons born . . . in the United States" are citizens, but only the ones LEGALLY born here. WOW! I wonder if they have given much real thought to the constitutional upheaval that this will create. And they want to "reinterpret" the Consitution by act of Congress! Sorry guys, but Congress does not have that power. The plain language of the Constitution says "all persons". Is that hard to understand? Amend it if you must, but do not tell us that the Constitution does not say what it says. I for one do not understand the fear that drives these efforts. Unfortunately, the recent Republican administration in Washington made the politics of fear a cornerstone of its policy. I cannot fully express the sadness that I feel as a result of that policy.

From Tim Bridgewater's website:

"Eliminate the “anchor baby” loophole. In general, it should be harder–not easier–than it is to become a citizen of the United States. Children born to non-citizens should not receive automatic citizenship. There are arguments to be made that changing the current practice will require a constitutional amendment, but I think there is a strong case that it could be done by statute, and I would pursue that avenue vigorously as Senator. If it can’t be done by statute, I would support a constitutional amendment to achieve the goal."

From Mike Lee's website:

"Clarify the original intent of the citizenship clause through legislation specifying that children born to illegal-alien parents in the United States are not entitled to automatic citizenship;"

We ALL agree that a change in immigration law and policy is needed. But please think again before you give into the climate of fear that has brought us SB1070 in Arizona, and promises of more to come. This is not the America we love. Is it?


  • At 10:00 PM, Blogger Brandon said…

    Andy, nice article as usual. It would have been nice if you had addressed the "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof" language in the 14th Amend that these guys believe means the children of non-citizens aren't entitled to citizenship if born in the US.

  • At 12:33 AM, Blogger Jonathon said…

    Andrew, you are absolutely correct and I applaud your willingness to point this issue out. I am certainly a fan of State Rights but I am even more concerned for the cause of Liberty and the protections afforded us by the Constitution. Somehow these two gentlemen feel it is possible to interpret the 14th Amendment with legislation, the very attempt to do, while not Constitutional, would result in a law that is also NOT Constitutional.

    Let us not forget what happens to these babies should they succeed in changing the 14th Amendment, they would LITERALLY be citizens of NO STATE (State being a country) and would cause an entire new problem.

    I have spoken with many individuals about this and some of the other hot political topics of the day. Way too many people believe the Constitution is dead or that it no longer applies. While I agree it was written a long time ago it is still as relevant now as it was when written. We have seen it take many blows, and to a certain degree it has even been eroded a bit. Nothing that a lot of good old fashioned hard work can't fix.

    I stand with you my friend!


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