Thursday, November 01, 2018

Distracting With Refugees

In an interview aired Sunday on HBO, President Trump was asked about birthright citizenship and argued he "can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. But now they're saying I can do it just with an executive order."

George Conway, Republican husband to the former Kellyanne Fitzpatrick, and Neal Katyal, Solicitor General in the Obama Administration, then wrote in a Washington Post op-ed noting "at its core, birthright citizenship is what our 14th Amendment is all about" and it

sprang from the ashes of the worst Supreme Court decision in U.S. history, Dred Scott v. Sandford, the 1857 decision that said that slaves, and the children of slaves, could not be citizens of the United States. The blood of hundreds of thousands of Americans was shed to repudiate that idea.

Afterward, the drafters of the 14th Amendment declared in their very first sentence, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.” The drafters were motivated by their utter revulsion toward slavery and a system that relegated people to subordinate political status because of their birth. They weren’t thinking of, or concerned with, any exceptions to birthright citizenship other than the absolutely essential.

Not only would eliminating birthright citizenship give children born to illegal immigrants protection from arrest, it would, as Garrett Epps explains, "create a shadow population of American-born people who have no state, no legal protection and no real rights that the government is bound to respect."

That is but one reason that Conway, though right at the beginning, is wrong at the end of his tweet

Surely it is the President's position, advantageous to Trump for both policy and politics.

Insofar as ending birthright citizenship would end legal protection and rights that government otherwise would be bound to respect, it accomplishes much of what temporary worker programs would. The residents probably would be barred from obtaining Social Security and other benefits and if employed, would be at the mercy of the employer.

He comprehends the words he's using.  In the wake of explosives mailed to Democrats and the media and slaughter of Jews in Pittsburgh, the caravan of refugee-seekers had slipped from the news.  One conservative analyst, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, argues

"Illegal immigration is a plus for the Republicans, whereas immigration and DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] are definitely pluses for the Democrats."

"The border security issue — being a nation of laws, having people come through an asylum process properly — is something a lot of people really care about in the United States," she added.

It's an issue easily exploited by a demagogue, and Donald Trump is a master demagogue, Class A.   It appears that reversing the 14th Amendment is not catching on with voters. Nevertheless, it draws attention back toward immigration, and those pictures of what appear to a lot of people to be hordes of the unkempt marching toward Texas.

If President Trump believed that tax cuts and the allegedly roaring economy would hold the House and increase the GOP majority in the Senate, he'd be boasting that he had made America great again. But he doesn't and he isn't, and as usual, Donald Trump knows exactly what he's doing.

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