The Littlest Soapbox

August 5, 2010

The Causes and Consequences of Illegal Immigration

Filed under: News & Politics — mikecgannon @ 9:25 AM

Ann Coulter and Victor Davis Hanson both have good columns on illegal immigration out.

Ms. Coulter explains the recent and dubious origins of the concept of “birthright citizenship”, how it was something the drafters of the 14th Amendment never desired, and the disastrous effects this policy has.

The very author of the citizenship clause, Sen. Jacob Howard of Michigan, expressly said: “This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers.”

In the 1884 case Elk v. Wilkins, the Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment did not even confer citizenship on Indians — because they were subject to tribal jurisdiction, not U.S. jurisdiction. [snip]

And then, out of the blue in 1982, Justice Brennan slipped a footnote into his 5-4 opinion in Plyler v. Doe, asserting that “no plausible distinction with respect to Fourteenth Amendment ‘jurisdiction’ can be drawn between resident aliens whose entry into the United States was lawful, and resident aliens whose entry was unlawful.” (Other than the part about one being lawful and the other not.)

Read the whole thing; characteristically for Ann Coulter, it’s both insightful and rapier-sharp.

VDH looks at the plethora of “paradoxes” that arise when the federal government makes a conscious decision not to enforce on of its own laws.

Take, for example, profiling — the controversial questioning of those who appear likely to be illegal aliens. Apparently, American border guards have developed criteria for profiling those deemed likely to be unlawful aliens. Otherwise, how would they have arrested and deported hundreds of thousands in 2009?

Yet apparently, at some arbitrary point distant from the border, those who cross illegally are not supposed to be asked about their immigration status. OK, but exactly why did procedures so radically change at, say, five, 10, 20, or is it 100 miles from the border? A border patrolman often profiles, but a nearby highway patrolman cannot?

Of course, these things are only paradoxes if you believe that nations are sovereign and should control their own borders in the first place. If you’re an Internationalist Leftist ideologue, the fact that border patrol still profiles for illegal immigrants simply means there remains work to be done.

Mr. Hanson realizes this, of course, but like any good teacher in the classical tradition, he recognizes the value of guiding his students towards discovering the answer for themselves.

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