I wrote this article for the Urban News back in December.
In November 2016, it is time for us to reassess who we are. What do we believe in? Since Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss earlier this month, I have heard a lot of … well, crazy talk. “Let us move to Canada.” “Let us impeach the president elect.” “Let us move to California and secede from the union.” And there have been hundreds of others.
Does this sound very similar to the garbage that conservatives were spewing when Barack Obama won in 2008? We laughed at that rhetoric then and we called it crazy talk. We scolded conservatives and asked them if they truly love this country. Now, we need to look in the mirror and decide if we truly love the United States of America. Our talk about resistance and overthrow is, for the most part, wrong. It is treasonous.
So, as a progressive, what do you believe in? Now, I cannot speak for everyone, but I can tell you that I believe in a society in which the individual is given an opportunity to reach his or her fullest potential, no matter what side of the tracks they grow up on.
This means that I believe in public education. Not vouchers. Not charter schools. I want our public schools to be the best in the world.
• For the first time in two decades, the total number of illegal immigrants has dropped significantly, from a high of 12 million in 2007 to 11.1 million in 2009.
• The average annual number of new illegal immigrants fell dramatically, from 850,000 in March 2005 to 300,000 in March 2009.
• Mexico remains the primary source of illegal immigration, with 60 percent; other Latin American nations represent 20 percent; and South and East Asia have 11 percent
For much of U.S. history, there were no legal limits on immigration, although rules for naturalization varied. During the colonial era, the English colonies in North America took land from Native Americans by both treaty and conquest, and then sought to attract other European immigrants as settlers. The colonial charters of Virginia and Maryland, for example, allowed government officials to admit and give property rights to “strangers and aliens.” In some colonies, governors and legislators naturalized entire groups of settlers by statute. In 1740 Parliament passed a law that enabled aliens who had lived in the colonies for seven years to become English subjects–if they were not Catholics.
The Constitution “was widely read in the antebellum era as making national citizenship derivative of state citizenship, except in cases
involving the naturalization of immigrants and the regulation of federal territories.” The Fourteenth Amendment nationalized the
definition of citizenship, rather than relying on the states, and it made state citizenship automatic upon residence in that state. Under
the Fourteenth Amendment, all persons “born or naturalized” in the United States and “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” are citizens of both the state in which they reside and the United States. Ratified in 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment was intended to overturn the Dred Scott ruling and protect former slaves, who were not recognized as citizens by Southern states even after the Civil War and emancipation.
Please read the whole piece. It is wonderful, informative and thoughtful.
On Sunday, Trump released a series of immigration proposals, one of which seeks to restore a similar vision of citizenship to the one embraced by the Supreme Court in its infamous Dred Scott decision. Trump calls for the United States to “[e]nd birthright citizenship,” which he labels “the biggest magnet for illegal immigration.” In Trump’s vision, the children of a disfavored class will once again carry tainted blood that disqualifies them from citizenship, even if his new target is the children of undocumented immigrants and not the descendants of men and women brought to this country in chains.
Black men and women “had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect,” according to the most infamous decision ever handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States. The core of the Court’s reasoning in Dred Scott was the notion that citizenship was a kind of hereditary inheritance, passed down from the kind of people “who were citizens of the several States when the Constitution was adopted” to their children. Black slaves and their descendants were, thus, disqualified by their own blood from enjoying the rights of citizenship.
Birthright citizenship, the principle that infants born on U.S. soil automatically become citizens regardless of ancestry, was written into the Constitution as an explicit repudiation of Dred Scott. “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” the Fourteenth Amendment begins, “are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” (more…)