Arizona, immigration and the 14th amendment

Am I the only one who thinks that the United States is once again embarrassing itself with its sudden posturing on illegal immigration?  In my mind, Arizona has become the laughing stock of the nation, to say nothing of the world.  And now, Republicans seem to want to amend the Constitution to undo the citizenship clause (which says that if you are born here, you are a citizen).  The clause is a simple and clear one:

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.

There are those who feel that this encourages illegal immigrants.  Maybe it does, but so what?  What ever happened to “give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses longing to be free…”?  I suppose Republicans look upon the words engraved on the Statue of Liberty as naive; these are the same people who view the second amendment as unalterable.  It seems to me that the nation was founded on the principle of acceptance, of a better life.  It’s why we are all here in the first place.  Excepting Native Americans, no one here can claim they were not a beneficiary of the open immigration policies of the United States.

And now we are trying to make it even harder to give other people the same opportunities.  This is one of those things that makes me sad, and ashamed to call myself an American.  What a hypocritical nation we have become!  Arizona leads the pack with its “papers, please” approach to illegal immigration.  I wonder what it is that people are so afraid of?

  1. Illegal immigrants take away jobs from honest Americans?  Show me a truly honest American (that is, an able-bodied citizen not attempting to be a career welfare recipient, or a professional litigant) and I’ll show you someone who has no fear of losing a job to an illegal immigrant.
  2. Illegal immigrants cost the state an enormous amount of money?  We call ourselves a “Christian” nation, but I don’t see it.  Where is the notion of charity?  Amnesty?  There are certain core decencies that you simply can’t cast aside because they cost too much.  We are obligated to pay it forward.
  3. Illegal immigrants encourage crime and poverty?  This is true of anything illegal or taboo.  Drugs would not be as exotic if they were legalized.  Children wouldn’t be as fascinated at the notion of sex if it wasn’t a mystery.  If we made it easier to be a legal citizen, much of the crime and poverty associated with it would go away over time.

I think we need to look this ugly side of ourselves in the face and at least lost the hypocrisy.  We are the “haves” of the world, and we don’t want to give up any of what we “have” to the “have-nots”.  That is what people are really afraid of.  If only these same people had the courage to admit this–at least then they couldn’t be called hypocrites.  Then they’d only be honest bigots.


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