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Armenia’s lavash can only be found in Sheepshead Bay at Brooklyn Bread House

August 10, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Born in the U.S.A. – Ramesh Ponnuru – National Review Online

Born in the U.S.A. – Ramesh Ponnuru – National Review Online.

August 10, 2010 Posted by | children, freedom, naturalization, politics | , | Leave a comment

Director Mueller, Say No to CAIR – Andrew C. McCarthy – National Review Online

Andrew C. McCarthy

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August 10, 2010 4:00 A.M.

Director Mueller, Say No to CAIR
A Muslim Brotherhood tentacle targets Robert Spencer.

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At this point, the question about CAIR should be: Why does anyone care? Care about anything CAIR officials say, that is.

The notorious Council on American-Islamic Relations is back up to its old tricks. CAIR officials figure our ten-minute attention span has lapsed, and that we’ve probably forgotten by now that, in the 2007–08 prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) — a case in which several Islamists were convicted in a scheme that poured millions of dollars into the coffers of the terrorist organization Hamas — CAIR was named as, and shown to be, an unindicted co-conspirator. CAIR reckons that the heat is off, so it’s back on the “Islamophobia” soapbox, demanding an apology from FBI director Robert Mueller.

An apology for what? The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces had the temerity to invite Robert Spencer — one of the nation’s leading experts on Islamist ideology — to lecture federal agents on Islamist ideology.

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Spencer’s lecture departed from the government’s “religion of peace” dogma, which holds that there is no Islamist aggression, that there is no civilizational jihad to destroy the West from within (never mind that CAIR’s progenitor, the Muslim Brotherhood, has bragged about its “sabotage” campaign), and that terrorism is not merely unconnected to Islam but, in fact, is anti-Islamic. According to this thinking, Islamist groups like CAIR have a monopoly on what Americans — including American law-enforcement and intelligence agents — are permitted to hear about Islam from academic, media, and government sources. No dissenting views are permitted, no matter how steeped the dissenters may be in Islamic doctrine and no matter how much these dissents accord with what your lyin’ eyes are seeing.

“When I speak with the American,” said Nihad Awad, “I speak with someone who doesn’t know anything.” Awad is now CAIR’s executive director. He made this statement at a Marriott Hotel in Philadelphia on Oct. 27, 1993, when he was the public-relations director for the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP). He and about two dozen other Islamist activists were meeting to brainstorm about how they might be able to continue supporting Hamas and to derail the Oslo Accords — the Clinton administration’s effort to bring a peaceful, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

For Hamas supporters, there can be no peaceful two-state solution, because they deny Israel’s right to exist. That is why, to this day, the charter of Hamas (which was established at the start of the intifada in the late Eighties) calls for the elimination of Israel by violent jihad. But in 1993, the United States was cracking down on Hamas. It would soon be designated a terrorist organization, and providing material support to it would be made a crime.

The Philadelphia conferees realized they were “marked” men, as one of them put it. Omar Ahmad, then the IAP president and Nihad Awad’s boss, openly worried about U.S. government surveillance, counseling his confederates to use the inversion “Samah” in their conversations to avoid uttering the word “Hamas.” As it happened, the FBI was secretly bugging the meeting. It was thus able to record Ahmad calling himself “Omar Yahya,” the better to conceal his identity from Bureau snoops.

When later compelled to testify about the meeting, Ahmed said he couldn’t recall being in Philadelphia, though the tape captured his calling the meeting to order. Awad, too, had a bout of amnesia when asked about the meeting during a 2003 deposition. But the tape showed him to have been a very active participant. When he gave his cohorts the aforementioned advice about American ignorance, his point was that we are easy for Islamists to deceive. Speaking with Americans was different, he posited, from communicating with “the Palestinian who has a martyr brother or something.” A “martyr,” of course, is one who gives his life (often by suicide bombing) in the terror campaign against Israel.

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August 10, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Good and bad news from moderate and militant Islam | Michael White | Politics | guardian.co.uk

Karen Woo Karen Woo, who was killed along with nine other aid workers in Badakhhsan province, Afghanistan, this week. Photograph: AP

Did you spot the good news item about moderate Islam in the Guardian this week? It was especially welcome because the past few days have seen a more than usually grisly tally of murders perpetrated by immoderate Islam.

First, the good news. Some 1,300 young Muslims attended a three-day “anti-terror camp” at the University of Warwick, there to become better equipped to counter the views expressed by assorted radicals and extremists.

The man credited for this initiative in Steven Morris’s report is Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, founder of the moderate Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI) movement and author of a 600-page volume demolishing any theological basis for terrorism of the kind routinely practiced by radical Muslims against, well, mainly Muslims actually.

Ignorant though most of us are of the finer points of Qur’anic theology, let alone the alphabet soup of Muslim organisations in Britain, this sounds like good stuff to me. There are hate-filled exponents of all religions and none (let’s not forget them, Professor Dawkins), Christians, Jews, and others with serious leverage over their own societies in some parts of the world.

But it must be especially tough for Muslims of good faith – in Muslim countries as well as the west – to get on with normal lives and ambitions when they often live in fear of intimidation – and worse.

My own hunch is that this phase of Islamic militancy will eventually be seen as a defensive and temporary attempt to stem the modernisation of the faith, its adaption to science, rationality and respect for individual conscience. But that does not make it any less scary today.

We’ve all read this week of the latest bombs in Iraq. The US disputes Baghdad’s claim that July was the deadliest month in two years, 535 deaths compared with fewer than half that number in the American tally. Either way it’s horrible and it’s mostly Muslim militants killing innocent Muslims for sectarian advantage as US troop withdrawals loom.

Bombs in Afghanistan? Well, the tactical situation is very different but the goal is the same. Nato forces have done all sorts of wrong and foolish things there, but they don’t deliberately set out to murder innocent children, women and men – unlike their Taliban opponents.

A UN report out today underlines that point: Nato killings are falling (the McChrystal doctrine in action?) while those by the “insurgents” – current euphemism of choice – are rising.

It’s not yet clear who murdered Dr Karen Woo and her party at the weekend or why. But it’s a pretty depressing story. Whoever did it knew they were shooting doctors and other aid workers, people running an eye clinic. It’s the sort of thing rightwing death squads used to do in El Salvador in the 80s – when much of Central America was plagued by endemic violence – and the left correctly made a big fuss about it.

Visceral anti-Americanism and a misplaced respect for different cultural values in developing countries (can we call Islam a developing religion? I don’t think so, not really at this stage; it’s just stuck in a deep rut) appear to make robust condemnation of terrorist behaviour harder for the left in this decade.

It’s a new version of that cold war “moral equivalence” formula that declared that the USSR and the US were as bad as each other. Oh no they weren’t. Admittedly, high-tech warfare, US-style, is so unattractive and one-sided, it explains why their opponents deploy roadside bombs against Nato troops. But in marketplaces, hospitals and schools the bombers go much further than that. They know what they are doing.

Yet the instance of intransigent violence that should, perhaps, shock us most this week is the murder of Gul Wazir, a Birmingham taxi driver, and his wife Bagum in a distant corner of Pakistan. Their adult son, Mehboob, who was upstairs in the shower when his parents were shot over breakfast, survived and is back in Britain.

Again, motives are not entirely clear, but it looks like a so-called “honour killing” by family members over a proposed marriage deal involving the dead couple’s daughters and two young villagers. Last year, so the Foreign Office estimates, there were 1,682 likely forced marriages involving young Britons, in which it helped people involved in 377.

That’s a lot. And it’s worse than just brutal treatment of young people (it’s not just women forced into arranged marriages against their will) by family members, assault, intimidation and, occasionally, murder to expiate “shame”.

There is also the matter of visa fraud and the nasty habit of making children marry their cousins. Ann Cryer, until recently the courageous Labour MP for Keighley, got into trouble for suggesting that such consanguinity produces much higher than average deformities in offspring – and didn’t get as much support as she should have done in progressive quarters since she is likely to be right.

Who knows, perhaps Karen Woo was helping to sort out such consequences when she was shot in the mountains by insurgents/Taliban/thieves with dyed-red beards. Yet today’s Times – alas, the links are behind the pay wall – has interviews with young British women who live in fear of fathers and brothers who want to kill them for rejecting arranged marriages.

I realise the west has been guilty of much misplaced cultural arrogance in the past couple of centuries. But that phase is ending and the arrogance of the banking fraternity has contributed further to the decline of the west. It is also the case that some of the indignities we now reject – especially against women – were practised here too not so long ago.

But ignorance, intolerance and murder should be called what they are and the law enforced.

August 10, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Readying the Ruh for Ramadan-By Hina Khan-Mukhtar

When the days of fasting begin, house and garden will no longer be my focus, insha’Allah. Aside from the necessary meals, the kitchen will take a back seat on my list of priorities. I hope to immerse myself in prayer and remembrance. I don’t want anything to distract me from the loftiness of the upcoming month, however, so I am trying to “set myself up for success” now. A scholar once advised that we should treat Ramadan like an “honored guest” and prepare for its arrival with proper planning so that we can benefit from its blessed presence once it is with us.

It is my sincere wish that when my children grow up to one day run their own households, insha’Allah, they will see Ramadan as a time not only for cleansing the body, the soul, and the mind…but for cleansing the long-forgotten recesses of the home as well. With the world around us in tidy order, the spirit feels better prepared to turn in complete focus on the worship of our Lord. May He grant us all success in our endeavors to please Him and allow us to live simple, clean lives that free up our time to do what is most important — remember Him.  Ameen.

COPYRIGHT HINA KHAN-MUKHTAR 2010. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

August 10, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Democratic Values, Islam and the Judeo-Christian Tradition Fallacy-Stuart WhatleyAssociate Blog Editor Posted: August 10, 2010 12:31 PM Huffington Post

From the latest criticism of Elena Kagan for hersupport of an Islamic finance program at Harvard to the escalating <a href="http://editorial.huffingtonpost.com/tmp/%E2%80%9Dhttp://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/08/us/08mosque.html?hp%E2%80%9D” target=”_hplink” style=”color: #771c85; text-decoration: underline; padding: 0px; margin: 0px;”>mosque construction controversy across the country, there are now warnings emanating from some circles that Muslim leaders are seeking gateways through which to implement an “Islamification” of American politics and society. Such efforts, the assertion goes, are meant to surreptitiously paint Islamic sharia law in a good light through media and academia to the point where Americans willfully allow it to be imposed on the larger body politic.

Those issuing these dystopian theocratic predictions emphasize sharia’s incompatibility with core American democratic values — individual liberty, consent to be governed, equality, and private property — that are <a href="http://editorial.huffingtonpost.com/tmp/%E2%80%9Dhttp://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/The-work-of-generations-4086%E2%80%9D” target=”_hplink” style=”color: #771c85; text-decoration: none; padding: 0px; margin: 0px;”>generally accredited to the Judeo-Christian tradition (a shorthand ascription that basks in the undue status of conventional wisdom).

Aside from satisfying radical jihadists’ religious war rhetoric, this presents a troublesome paradox for Christians making the claim: how does one effectively fight despotism and promote liberal democratic values for all people while at the same time basing those values in Judeo-Christian tradition? Does the Judeo-Christian trademark on individual liberty not introduce an added barrier for access? Islamic societies, for example, could be forgiven for feeling some aversion to such preloaded propositions.

Fortunately for Christian democracy promoters, they need not shoot themselves in the foot; their contradiction can be easily remedied by admitting that liberal democratic values are really only Christian insofar as Christians have appropriated them from antecedent and parallel modes of thought. These are values that may be historically associated with a Judeo-Christian demographic, but they are by no means philosophically derived from it. For an analogy, one need only imagine a new carmaker claiming original credit for inventing the automobile or discovering combustion — it may have a unique package, but inside it’s an agglomeration of all that came before.

Notions of equality and individual liberty in Western thought have roots in Greco-Roman thinking that far predated and had already seeped into 1st Century A.D. Roman imperial society, wherein Christianity arose under the ambitious precentorship of the apostle Paul. Namely, it appears as though Paul borrowed in bulk from the writings of Epicurus, a historically maligned Greek philosopher (much of that maligning came from later Christians seeking to cover-up the heathenish connection) who emerged during the rise of Alexander in the 4th Century B.C.

Christianity’s Epicurean underpinnings were traced in exquisite detail by the late scholar Norman Wentworth DeWitt in his landmark historical studies, Epicurus and His Philosophy and St. Paul and Epicurus. Most notably, the individualistic and humanistic values to which many modern Christians now claim a copyright are those that Epicurus most emphatically espoused. According to DeWitt, Epicurus “favored a minimum of government control and a maximum of individual freedom” as opposed to his contemporary Plato’s “highly regimented state with a minimum of individual freedom and a maximum of government control.” Likewise, Epicurus formed a cult of peace that embraced a view of humanity that could very well be called “brotherly love” — precisely what we see centuries later in Paul’s “gospel of peace”.

A central tenet of American individual liberty is religious freedom, for which ‘Christian nation’ enthusiasts can scarcely avoid hypocrisy. Historically, institutionalized religious tolerance is by no means an exclusively Christian claim either, as evidenced by the care the Greek historian Herodotus took in documenting religious permissiveness in the ancient Persian Empire under Cyrus, six centuries before Paul. Moreover, Christianity’s own track record for defending religious freedom hardly sets a desirable standard. It took over 1,000 years after the movement went mainstream for such notions of tolerance to emerge from within.

Even then, the first century of public education in America required that all who attend be inculcated with strictly Protestant mores, much to the chagrin of the burgeoning Catholic population (to say nothing of members of any other religious minorities or nonbelievers). In the case of an Islamic center near Ground Zero, the Christian-based religious intolerance from some is obvious and has ironic historical parallels. According to historian Justo Gonzalez, it was Roman imperial policy during the 2nd and 3rd Centuries not to actively hunt Christians for being Christian, but still to punish an individual for that offense if and when his identity became known. Christians were allowed to practice their faith, but if they projected their identities to the general public, they would suffer that society’s wrath.

History also shows modern Christians’ original claim and defense of democratic rule to be equally hollow. When Christianity was first brought into the mainstream fold under Constantine — despite the intolerance Christians previously suffered — it did so as an all but willing partner in his attempt to consolidate autocratic rule and for the next millennium its Church engaged in all manner of political machinations to secure it’s own supremacy. It is not without irony that the pagans who supplanted Roman imperialism independently brought with them a political culture where individual liberty was actually of central concern. The 19th Century English historian Lord Actontells us that, “[The barbarians’] primitive Republicanism, which admits monarchy as an occasional incident, but holds fast to the collective supremacy of all free men, of the constituent authority over all constituted authorities, is the remote germ of parliamentary government.”

Despite its spotty historical record, the remaining claim Christians make is that their tradition encapsulates liberal values into a single vehicle and that it advanced the doctrine of inclusiveness and multiculturalism. But as Robert Wright, the author of the excellent book, The Evolution of God, points out, Christianity’s inclusivity is actually just a product of the increasingly complex and interconnected Roman imperial society wherein it emerged and competed for attention. Wright notes that, “Even if Paul hadn’t been born, any religion that came to dominate the Roman Empire would have been conducive to inter-ethnic amity. For only that kind of religion could harness network externalities to outpace rivals.” Moreover, most scholars of early Christianity agree that Paul’s embrace of multiethnic inclusiveness was more a means for keeping his disparate religious empire intact than a noble end in and of itself.

All of this should be good news to American Christians who would have individual liberty, equality, and consent of the governed be a desirable goal for all human societies, or who claim to stand for the U.S. Constitution here at home. Models for pluralistic societies based on these a priori values exist throughout the historical landscape, independent of the Judeo-Christian tradition. It bodes well that they may be freely adopted by all cultures. To universalize their message, American Christians need only acknowledge this and forgo chauvinistic claims that fuel both sides of the current religio-cultural divide.

August 10, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stuart Whatley: Democratic Values, Islam and the Judeo-Christian Tradition Fallacy

Stuart Whatley: Democratic Values, Islam and the Judeo-Christian Tradition Fallacy.

August 10, 2010 Posted by | Muslim | | Leave a comment

Michael Winship: The Wall and the Mosque: Divide and Unite

Michael Winship: The Wall and the Mosque: Divide and Unite.

August 10, 2010 Posted by | history, war | | Leave a comment

Iran Turns the Tables on US, Calls it World’s Leader in Terror

Iran says the United States “is calling the kettle black” by saying it leads the world in terror and that the American government is trying to cover up its guilt of sponsoring and conducting terrorist operations around the world.

“Under such circumstances that instances of the U.S. behavior show this country has been the biggest sponsor of terrorism during the last three decades, Washington projects the blame and levels void accusations against other countries in a bid to conceal its acts in this regard,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast said Monday.

The U.S. State Department’s annual report on terrorism last week blamed Iran for sponsoring terror. “Not so,” according to Mehman-Parast. “The Islamic Republic of Iran has always made special efforts to cooperate with the international community in fighting terrorism,” the spokesman said in a statement published by the semi-official Fars News Agency.

“To give [an] example of such the double-standard, we can refer to full-scale activities of the terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) in the Western states and their connections with political figures and their secret services in those countries,” he told another government agency.

The MKO is a religious leftist organization that advocates the overthrow of the Iranian regime but also has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States. An American court last month ordered the government to reconsider the blacklisting.

Mehman-Parast said the United States sponsors the Sunni Muslim Jundollah terrorist group that has carried out attacks on Iranian officials. Iran has maintained that the group’s leader, Abdolmalek Rigi, confessed after his arrest in February that the United States funded Jundollah.

The Iranian official also alleged that the U.S. Army forces in Afghanistan have allowed increased cultivation of poppies, used to make heroin that is a fundraising vehicle for terrorists. American activities in Israel were not spared in Iran’s accusations. Mehman-Parast said the “crimes and atrocities of Zionists” indicate the role of the United States in promoting terror.
(IsraelNationalNews.com)

August 10, 2010 Posted by | death, Israel, Terrorism | | Leave a comment

10 Reasons Amending the Constitution to End Birthright Citizenship Is a Terrible Idea- American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Written by: Crystal Williams

guest blogger Greg Siskind, AILA Board of Governors

One of the greatest accomplishments of the Republican Party was actually one of its earliest. After winning the Civil War and freeing the slaves, the Grand Old Party worked to pass the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, the bedrock of civil rights protections in the U.S. that has served as a model to democracies around the world. The accomplishment was so significant that the GOP touts it in its list of greatest accomplishments (http://www.gop.com/index.php/learn/accomplishment/).

So it is, of course, shocking that in the days following the defeat of the Arizona law by a judge in that state, a number of Republican Senators have come forth calling for the repeal of the 14th Amendment’s provisions on birthright citizenship.

The 14th Amendment guarantees that all children born in the U.S. (with narrow exceptions for children born to diplomats) are U.S. citizens. While some have argued that the 14th Amendment doesn’t clearly protect birthright citizenship, this has been established law for more than a century. The Supreme Court removed any doubt of this in the 1898 United States v. Wong Kim Ark case where, by a 6-2 majority, the Supreme Court held that:

The fourteenth amendment reaffirms the ancient and fundamental rule of citizenship by birth within the territory, in the allegiance and under the protection of the country, including all children here born of resident aliens, with the exceptions or qualifications (as old as the rule itself) of children of foreign sovereigns or their ministers, or born on public ships, or of enemies within and during a hostile occupation of part of our territory, and with the single exception of children of members of the Indian tribes owing direct allegiance to their several tribes… To hold that the fourteenth amendment of the constitution excludes from citizenship the children born in the United States of citizens or subjects of other countries, would be to deny citizenship to thousands of persons of English, Scotch, Irish, German or other European parentage, who have always been considered and treats as citizens of the United States.

Nearly three decades ago, the Supreme Court relied on Wing Kim Ark in the case of Plyler v. Doe to make clear that the 14th Amendment applies to ALL persons born in the U.S., whether their parents are legally present or not.

Extremists have been complaining about so-called “anchor babies” for some time. To listen to them, one would assume that millions of these children are growing up in America today or will one day choose to exercise their citizenship rights and enter the U.S. Few except politicians on the fringe were willing to support the extremists. But in the last several days, a number of lawmakers have lost their inhibitions and are openly calling for a Constitutional Amendment.

Once the shock of the suggestion wears off, it does pay to at least think about some of the basic reasons why we need to steer clear of an Amendment. Here are a number of reasons why.

1. This is a “solution in search of a problem.”

To hear Lindsey Graham’s and his allies’ description of “drop and leave,” Americans understandably might assume that there are millions of people coming to the U.S. to have children. Is there really any truth to this allegation?

The anti-14th Amendment folks simultaneously talk about two groups of individuals when discussing amending the Constitution. One is the group of mothers that is illegally present in the U.S. having children and the second are mothers who come on so-called “birth tourism” packages legally to the U.S. so they can claim citizenship for their kids.

On the first issue, there is little evidence that a significant number of mothers illegally enter the U.S. for the purpose of having children. The burden of proof should be on proponents of tinkering with one of the cornerstones of American democracy. Before changing the Constitution, we should have clear evidence that there is a problem rather than the anecdotes of politicians pushing an anti-immigrant agenda.

It is true that many mothers here illegally do have children, but their purpose for being in the U.S. is generally to work or to be with a family member who is the breadwinner. This is probably the group that Graham is targeting and he should be honest in saying that the goal is to punish people who are here illegally and to disenfranchise their children as opposed to stopping a mythical “drop and leave” crisis.

As for maternity tourism, there is actual real evidence to point to that shows that this problem is miniscule. According to the Center for Health Care Statistics, fewer than 7,500 births out of an annual 4,000,000 births are to mothers who report residing outside the country. And some of those mothers are U.S. citizens residing abroad as part of the community of 6,000,000 Americans who live overseas.

And perhaps the reason so few mothers come to the U.S. just to have a child is because the immigration benefits are not what these Republicans would have people believe. Children born in the United States cannot sponsor their parents for immigration benefits until after they turn 21 years of age.

Nevertheless, to the extent that there is a “maternity tourism” industry, the better approach to dealing with this is to enforce our existing laws that bar the use of visitor visas for such a purpose. Targeting companies and individuals engaged in this type of visa fraud would go a long way to curtailing this sort of activity.

2. Ending birthright citizenship would not end illegal immigration.

There is no evidence that immigrants come to the United States to have children. They come for jobs. Taking away birthright citizenship would not change this. What would happen is the number of illegally present immigrants would increase dramatically as many children of illegal immigrants are added to the ranks of the illegally present and who knows how many others would be added to the list of the undocumented because they are unable to prove citizenship even if they are entitled to it.

3. Implementing a Drastic Change to the 14th Amendment Would Be Enormously Difficult to Administer and Hugely Expensive.

Because U.S. citizenship laws are so complex and all Americans would no longer have the most basic proof of citizenship – the birth certificate – available, most would have to go through a legal process that would be expensive for the government and the individual. The government would need to hire thousands of lawyers and other examiners, and individuals would also need thousands of new lawyers to help with this process once we get through years of litigation to determine how we actually define citizenship and what is a fair way to prove it.

4. Where exactly do you draw the line?

One of the biggest potential problems with looking at something of this sort is figuring out which population to target. Just the children of illegally present immigrants? What about when one of the parents is a citizen and one is an illegally present immigrant? What about when the parents are unmarried. Does it matter if the father is the citizen as opposed to the mother? If not, in situations where the mother is not legally present and she is not married to the U.S. citizen father, the mother would need to first prove the paternity of the child, something that could be difficult or impossible particularly for individuals without the means to sue for paternity. Should it make a difference if the legally present parent is a lawful permanent resident and not a citizen? How about a legally present non-immigrant?

If the target is broader and we’re going after anyone whose parents are not permanent residents or citizens, does it matter what type of non-immigrant status the person holds? Should a tourist be treated differently than a student or a non-immigrant work visa holder? What about people working on non-immigrant visas but waiting on long lines for permanent residency such as Indian and Chinese advanced degree holders?

5. The citizenship of millions of Americans would suddenly come into doubt.

If birth in the United States is no longer proof of citizenship, a great number of people would have great difficulty proving they are entitled to citizenship. People would face extraordinary administrative obstacles and be forced to hire lawyers to prove entitlement to citizenship. Waits for passports would be extremely lengthy since for all people it would be the main way to prove they are American. Right now there is no registry of U.S. citizens and people generally rely on proving their birth in the U.S. to demonstrate citizenship. One survey by the Brennan Center at New York University found that more than 13 million people would not be easily able to prove their citizenship.

Many other questions would also naturally arise. What about the grandchildren of illegal immigrants? As noted above, figuring out what to do when one of the parents is legal and the other not raises a number of questions over how citizenship is transmitted in the absence of birthright acquisition. If citizenship is not defined by being born in the U.S., then how does one acquire citizenship? For most African Americans, citizenship was likely originally acquired in their families because of the 14th Amendment itself. Are only individuals who immigrated going to qualify? What about Native Americans?

A Pandora’s Box if there ever was one.

6. The American system of assimilating immigrants that has worked successfully for generations would be put under serious threat by creating a permanent two-tiered society with a permanent new underclass.

Taking away citizenship from the children of immigrants would mean more than just not being able to cast votes in elections. It means no driver’s licenses, no in-state tuition, no ability to work legally and so on. Instead, we would have a class of individuals with no real connection to any country other than the U.S., but no ability to become productive participants in our society. This new stateless class would be forced to live in the shadows. For some, they won’t be deportable because their parents’ countries are not legally obligated to take them. This new stateless group of individuals would be stuck in a limbo of not being able to participate in American society but having no other country to which to go as an alternative. Such individuals would be vulnerable to exploitation and criminal activity.

7. It’s a slap in the face to African Americans

After the Civil War, there were many, including President Andrew Johnson, who were prepared to continue to deny citizenship to slaves and their newly freed children because they were not “ready” to take on the responsibilities of citizenship. The Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed that no class of individuals would ever have to show they were up to snuff when it came to deserving citizenship, and it is the Fourteenth Amendment that has been the basis of major civil rights progress in the area of voter rights, equal access to justice, protection against workplace discrimination, etc.

The idea of scrapping birthright citizenship has been the cornerstone of nativist and racist organizations for some time and the fact that supposedly mainstream Republicans have suddenly started discussing this topic in polite company doesn’t make it less offensive. The sacrifice of countless individuals who gave their lives to win these rights is not honored by even having this discussion.

8. Birthright citizenship is in the Constitution precisely to avoid “the tyranny of the masses.”

The 14th Amendment is in place precisely to protect individuals from politicians with their own interests in mind as well as the sentiments of the time. The Constitution has only been amended 17 times since the Bill of Rights and never to take away civil rights from any class of people. The framers of the 14th Amendment made birthright citizenship an “inalienable” right and tampering with this really places into question whether our American system of rights and freedoms has been a failure.

9. Where do they stop?

The 14th Amendment has been in place since just after the Civil War and no Congress has ever opened the door to cutting out groups from its protection. Today the discussion involves the children of those illegally in the U.S. Some proposals seek to bar the children of anyone but lawful permanent residents and U.S. citizens. But what is to say that we don’t then move to stripping out other children of those who do not “deserve” to have their children awarded U.S. citizenship. Perhaps deny birthright citizenship to the children of those with criminal records? How about the children of same sex couples? What about where the parents express “anti-American” views? The folks pushing to repeal the 14th Amendment birthright citizenship rules are doing so to punish the behavior of the parents. Once we open the door, is it really that hard to envision pushing to add more and more groups?

10. Do we really want to start deporting babies?

That’s essentially what this proposal means. Is this really something our society has the stomach to do and is this really what Americans want to spend our tax dollars pursuing?

Even having a serious debate about this subject has the potential to tear society apart and the grownups in the GOP need to seize control and make it clear that the party does not endorse the idea. Aside from being the morally right thing to do, it’s also smart politics. At this point, the GOP is on the verge of so offending Hispanic voters in order to appease a tiny segment of the public that they risk losing the trust of Hispanics for generations.

August 10, 2010 Posted by | culture, history, immigration, naturalization | | Leave a comment