Proposed Immigration Bill Kills Birther Theories

In one of the more noxious “conservative” proposals to come down the line in quite some time, over 90 House Republicans have pledged their support to the “Birthright Citizenship Act of 2009,” which would, contrary to its title, end the notion that citizenship is the right of all born in this country. Put in their words, the BCA would solve the “anchor baby problem,” by providing that no child born on American soil shall take citizenship at birth, unless at least one parent is a citizen. So much for 4,000+ years of jus soli, and the idea that modern conservatism has anything to do with preserving tradition.

The more interesting implication of the bill, though, is this: because the bill assumes that the current state of the law provides citizenship to all persons born on American soil, it’s an implicit rejection of the more “rational” birther theory — that Obama, despite being born in Hawaii, fails to qualify as a “natural born citizen,” because one of his parents wasn’t a citizen.

Of course, it’s blatantly unconstitutional, too (“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,” U.S. Const., Amd. XIV, § 1).

You really have to wonder why this bill was ever even written. If it’ll never become valid law, why go to the trouble of writing it? Have we really fallen so far that we’ll draw up and push legislation just to slake our constituents’ desire to offend the groups that the bill would target, in theory? Apparently, yes.



  1. Probably it’s not so much a desire to offend as of being able to go back to their constituents and say, “Well, we tried to fix the problem, but those evil, anchor-baby-lovin’ Lib’ruls killed it. Now re-elect me.”

  2. That’s… more or less equivalent to what I was going to say, only more colorful.

    By proposing legislation which goes against basic principles (and is therefore unpassable… I hope…) but presses Red American applause-buttons, Red America’s authoritarian leaders nurture and encourage Red America’s feeling of being oppressed and under siege.

  3. Steve Jeffers · ·

    I used to enjoy Fox News, it was entertaining in it’s crazy way, really quite funny … then Bush won his second term, and that was the wrong punchline and the joke went sour.

    I’ve enjoyed the lunacy of the Tea Party movement, the sheer stupidity, the illiterate placards, the total lack of self-awareness. The Republicans racing to smear themselves in the same shit has also made me laugh out loud at times.

    Arizona’s changed that, for me. The state firing teachers with ‘thick accents’, the police ordered to check the papers of people, to harass those who refuse, the provision that the police can be punished if they try a more humane approach? All the time, the same people doing this are accusing their *opponents* of extending state power in a Hitlerian way. While some of them are planting bombs and killing doctors and museum guards and IRS men and census takers and plotting to ambush police at a funeral.

    This joke is sour, now.

    The London Times reports that a Senegalese street vendor spotted the SUV with the bomb in it in New York, the main suspect is a middle aged white man.

    It’s the exact opposite of the Jack Bauer right-wing fantasy narrative. The powerless Muslim immigrant alerts the regular police, who clear the area and save the day, all without torturing anyone or loss of life or all that much drama. Meanwhile, the white guy racing around in an SUV is the terrorist.

    This joke isn’t funny anymore. What can we do?

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