State Republican lawmakers from Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and South Carolina met in Washington, DC Wednesday to announce their plan to create a new class of citizen called a “State Citizen,” according to Reuters. A State Citizen is a person born to undocumented immigrants while in the U.S. who would be denied U.S. citizenship under proposed changes to the 14th Amendment. The child would be issued a different type of birth certificate and would be refused access to various state services, presumably health care and education. Eventually, the State Citizen would be deported.
Colorado activists protest Secure Communities, the melding of federal and state databases including ICE, which would be used to identify State Citizens in many cases.
The question the legislators failed to answer is, deported to where? The Republican legislators who propose the law define a State Citizen as a person “Who owes no allegiance to any foreign sovereignty, or a child without citizenship or nationality in any foreign country,” reports AJC of Atlanta, Georgia. If the child owes no citizenship to another country then no country would be obligated to take him as one of its own. That includes the country of his birth parents.
For example, a child born in the U.S. to undocumented parents from Mexico would be a State Citizen of the United States. Mexico would likely refuse to accept the child into their country. That would leave the person stranded eternally in the U.S., either as a prisoner in one of the blossoming prisons for profit used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or free on the streets with no access to basic services or even a job.
With no means of legal support, no education, and no options open, the State Citizen would be forced into the underground labor market. Eventually, the U.S. would be forced to spend billions building new prisons to house what heretofore were lawful U.S. citizens by birthright. These citizens currently live productive, tax-paying lives.
State Citizens who escape incarceration or deportation would belong to a lower caste of citizens, as is common in some third world countries. Insuring all people are treated equally is part of the American principle of freedom. The foundation for the battle cry “No taxation without representation” happened during the Boston Tea Party.
Various countries often refuse to accept their citizens especially if they have a criminal record, including China and Cuba. At the very least, the proposed law would leave criminal aliens in the United States. In the past, ICE has incarcerated alien criminals with non-violent offenses for life when a country refused to accept them.
The group of lawmakers who proposed the changes to the 14th Amendment call themselves State Legislators for Legal Immigration and include Sen. Jack Murphy (R-GA). Their objective is to force the Supreme Court to review the current interpretation of the 14th Amendment.
“I feel that the birthright citizenship issue must not be taken lightly and loopholes that allow for individuals to unlawfully remain in our country and take advantage of valuable taxpayer resources must be closed,” said Sen. Murphy, who co-chairs a study committee on immigration. “Members of our committee must begin to look at legislation that will close these loopholes in Georgia and protect our citizens.” AJC reports.
The State lawmakers announced their plan after the Republicans in the US Senate defeated the Dream Act during the lame duck session. The Dream Act would have allowed students of undocumented immigrants to go to college or serve in the military. After paying a fine which would have added billions to the treasury and after a 10-year wait, the students could petition to become permanent residents.
Republicans also refused to vote on the START Treaty and the gays in the military issue until Democrats agreed to extend unfunded tax cuts to millionaires, giving each millionaire an extra $139,000 in spendable funds. The lawmakers who proposed the change to the 14th Amendment will benefit from the tax cut and resent granting public services to citizen children of undocumented immigrants.
The battle over the 14th Amendment has brought together an unusual alliance of civil rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People which have sometimes been at odds on the issue of immigration. The new coalition calls itself Americans for Constitutional Citizenship. The coalition labeled the Republican proposals “unconstitutional, un-American and divisive,” according to AJC.
“For the first time since the end of the Civil War, these legislators want to pass state laws that would create two tiers of citizens. A modern-day caste system, with potentially of millions of natural-born Americans being treated as somehow less than entitled to the equal protection of the laws that our nation has struggled so hard to guarantee,” Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, was quoted as saying.