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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Ron Paul: Fight Illegals, Junk The Fourteenth Amendment

A former Republican presidential contender and darling of self-styled libertarians is proposing that the federal government get much, much more involved in shaping the destinies of some of us who were born in the United States!

It was reported last week that Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) proposes that the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants would be denied automatic citizenship and deportable along with their parents. This position would eviscerate the current Fourteenth Amendment providing that all who are born here are citizens.

Paul's proposal would create a new sub-class (or underclass) of people among the larger class of people born here.  It would establish the principle that some of us would pay the price for who our parents are.  This government-drawn distinction among those born here would also eviscerate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; it would make the concept of "equal rights" more Orwellian (i.e., some are "more equal than others," sayeth the pig Napoleon) than Jeffersonian.  We would be a hop, skip and jump away from a return to slavery.
Ron Paul would make a class distinction and codify a caste system, just like the kingdoms of Western Europe had in the Middle Ages and colonial era, the countries where society and law recognized concepts of sharp inequality expressed in terms like "one's betters."  Ron Paul would return us to the rigid English class consciousness of the 18th Century -- i.e., blatant discrimination on arbitrary bases.

Another troubling aspect:  Ron Paul's proposal would shift the burden of proof from the state to the person.   As a hypothetical situation, let's say someone -- born to a citizen mother -- is abandoned at a hospital or fire station (as we now encourage mothers to do so newborns don't end up in trash bins).   The critical question for the abandoned child is: How would we know if the child came out of a citizen uterus?   Do we presume that he had alien parentage?  And who will be qualified -- or appointed by law -- to make such determinations?  What regulatory scheme will arise to make such decisions? 

Paul's proposal is also ironic. Classic libertarians want to reduce the degree of government control over the private affairs of people. However, once citizenship is not automatic by birth, it becomes a decision of "citizenship panels," and will engender processes sure to be rife with corruption and exploitation. It would make our federal government extremely involved in our lives by giving it the power to determine, in its discretion surely to be abused, who is an American.  Such a "citizenship arbiter" to determine "who is a real American" is sure to create a new bureaucracy...and engender related businesses and a likely rise in identity fraud.  This proposal would profess to fight and diminish government power -- by increasing it?   This is utter nonsense. 

Moreover, the proposal hints at hypocrisy from someone who professes fidelity towards the Constitution, yet is eager to make a radical amendment (essentially, a repeal of the Fourteenth Amendment) to it.

In short, I cannot fathom a position that is less "conservative,"  "libertarian" or even "constitutional."

Maybe these people just don't know what they're talking about.

Eric Dixon is a New York lawyer and strategic analyst. He handles legislative and policy analysis in addition to advocating on civil rights and election law matters. He is available for comment at 917-696-2442 and through this site.

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