Well, the media named “Summer of Trump” is just about over. And, surprisingly to many of those same media types, it looks like that there probably will also be a “Fall of Trump.” A seasonal change, not any falling of Donald Trump in the presidential polls.
Donald Trump has never been one to shy away from controversy. He actually seems to thrive on it, and it has been one of the things that has made him so popular with his supporters. His comments on the immigration problem has really stirred up supporters and detractors. And he seems to love it. In the last couple of weeks, his comments about the 14th Amendment and “anchor babies” have continued to stir up the intensity of the immigration debate.
The term, “anchor babies,” has been used for quite some time, but now has fallen in disfavor with the political correctness crowd. It simply refers to babies born in this country to women who are not legal residents or have legal status here. By being born in the U.S., the baby is considered as U.S. citizen. Therefore, it would be difficult to deport the mother or father, even if they are here illegally. The baby becomes an “anchor” that helps the rest of the family to stay in this country. By the way, this is not a practice that is just common to Latino illegal immigrants. Pregnant women from other countries, namely China, have also been coming to America to have their babies so that their baby will have the benefits of being a U.S. citizen.
News reports and experts say that this practice is legal according to the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The amendment states, “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.” But the amendment had nothing to do with anything concerning illegal immigrants, or undocumented workers, when it was adopted on July 9, 1868.
It was about slavery, and its results. (Isn’t it funny, or not so funny, that so many of the problems that our country faces today stem from the root of slavery?) The 13th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1865, formally abolished and freed the slaves. But there still were questions about the former slave’s legal status. So the Republican majority U.S. Congress (That’s right, Republican!) passed the 14th Amendment in order to protect the legal rights of the newly freed slaves.
So does that mean that any child born on U.S. soil is considered a U.S. citizen? It seems like the general answer to this is yes. But Donald Trump disagrees. He says his lawyers disagree. There may be an argument in Trump’s favor in the clause in the amendment where it states, “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” and also in the clause, “and of the State wherein they reside.” We’ll see, but as always with Trump, it’ll be interesting.
But, in fact, whatever becomes of the “anchor baby” issue, it will have little effect on the total illegal immigration issue. Yes, we need greater control of our borders. We need to do much more to control the flood of illegal immigrants. But we also need to be realistic about our labor force, and just who is doing the jobs that are needed that many just won’t do anymore. (Hint, just look out into the tobacco field.)
We have always heard that we, the United States, are a nation of laws. And the Constitution is the backbone of those laws. So, if it is determined that those babies born to illegals in the U.S. are citizens according to the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, then they are U.S. citizens. It’s the law. Yes, laws can be changed or amended by the legal process, but they can’t be disregarded or ignored. (By the way, that’s why those in government should be careful making laws, because they, like so many other things, can have unintended consequences in the future.)
September 17 is Constitution Day. It was on that day in 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the last time to sign the document that became the foundation for our government and its laws. The Daughters of the American Revolution organization is urging local churches to ring their church bells at 4 PM on that date inorder to honor those who crafted the document and to highlight its significance to our country. Because without it, we might not be enjoying the “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” from the Preamble of the Constitution that we memorized back during our school years.
Mac McPhail, raised in Sampson County, lives in Clinton and can be reached at [email protected]