The sheer ugliness and viciousness of the assault on the protections of the Fourteenth Amendment have caught even me by surprise. There is not much point in expatiating on their evil. Anyone who shares the hysteria about "anchor babies" is invited to seek out another blog. But as I took my morning walk today, I found myself wondering just how the mouthpieces for this latest nativist outburst imagine their "revisions" to Section One would actually play out.
Certain questions would need to be settled first. Would the denial of citizenship to those whose parents are not themselves citizens be retrospective or prospective? That is to say, do Trump and his mimics propose to strip citizenship from those already born in the United States to "illegals" or simply to deny that citizenship henceforward? I rather suspect they mean to take presumptive citizenship away from those who, until now, have been considered citizens, but if so, unto what generation? Suppose a young man of eighteen presents himself to register to vote. He carries with him his birth certificate, which until now would be sufficient to establish his citizenship. Do Trump and company wish to demand that he also produce the birth certificates of his mother and father, or their naturalization papers? Of his grandparents?
The unspoken assumption in this frenzy of nativism is that "anchor babies" carry their offensive status about on their persons, in the form, we might imagine, of Hispanic accents and brown skin. But clearly the law must be applied evenhandedly. So if the son or daughter of Scott Walker or Ted Cruz or Rick Santorum comes to the Office of Elections to register to vote, presumably he or she also will be asked for proof of parent's citizenship in addition to a birth certificate, as will the sons and daughters of all the hate filled idiots cheering Trump on at his rallies.
Do you suppose they understand that?
Ah, but that is just the sort of silly clever question [as the British say] that an over-educated radical like me would ask with a smug look of condescension. We all understand what is going on here. The idea is simply to get rid of them, the other, the interlopers who are stealing our God-fearing White Christian country.
Trump wants to round up all the "illegals" and deport them. Cool heads point out how much it would cost to deport eleven million people. But that vastly understates the problem. It would be necessary [with the protections of due process -- another part of that pesky Section One] to check the citizenship status of every single person in the United States, not just those with suspiciously Hispanic-sounding names or those whose skin tone raises alarm bells. Presumably the revision of the Fourteenth Amendment would apply to Irish illegals and German illegals and Canadian illegals as well was to Mexican or Guatemalan or Brazilian illegals.
Indeed, who would do the checking, inasmuch as every one of the government officials would also have to be checked for the new citizenship status.
This may be what Trump has in mind when he says he will create millions of jobs.