Birthright Citizenship

Photo of me by Wesley Abney
Photo of me by Wesley Abney

Since 2015, the idea of ending birthright citizenship has been on my radar. Those favoring anti-immigration, view the bestowal of citizenship on children of foreign citizens as a problem. In their mind, pregnant women are invading the United States specifically to have children and force the country to keep the parents. (It may delay, but the parents are still deported and the children either go with them or stay with a relative in the US.) I guess they think of birthright citizenship as a loophole to encouraging or allowing undesirable immigration.

I am thinking about it because of the PotUS talking yet again about ending birthright citizenship through an executive order. Well, he’s probably echoing Stephen Miller again. The 14th amendment’s section 1 is what created it.

Amendment XIV
Section 1.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The original intent was to make African-Americans citizens in a way that could not be legislated away by the Southern states. Prior to this, we were in the North but not in the South. It established across the board that we are.

The legal principle is called jus soli which means “right of the soil.” It primarily is something that exists in Western countries only restricting it from people who are working for a foreign government. The US Supreme Court allows the denying of it to foreign diplomats or enemy forces occupying our territory. The current issue has not been tested, so I wonder if this executive order is really to set up that test with a court more friendly to the idea of ending it.

The alternative is jus sanguinis which means “right of blood.” Citizenship is determined by the nationality of one or both parents (or permanent residency). This is what got the paranoid-schizophrenic diabetic man deported to Iraq where he had never lived. He was born in Greece who did not have birthright citizenship, so his was Iraqi. He grew up in the US, so he only spoke English. When the US deported him, he was sent to Iraq where he knew no one, had no access to medication, and soon died. Countries are moving towards restricted birthright citizenship to solve this problem of statelessness.

There is also restricted jus soli where a child born of a permanent resident for some time gains citizenship at birth or at a certain age. The United Kingdom, for example, has jus sanguinis but allows the children of legal immigrant settlers to become citizens at birth or upon the 10th birthday. Greece now allows the acquisition of citizenship by children if they attend school in the country for several years, but only 22% of applications are approved.

I guess this last is something to worry about in that whatever the new system is designed to be, the Devil is in the details. As it is, the rumored executive order is either FUD to open immigration advocates or a blessing to anti-immigration advocates.

Brainstorming Ebola under America First

Saw a story that got me wondering what the reaction would be under the current president if the test had come back positive.

An unidentified patient who was kept in isolation at a Philadelphia hospital while being tested for Ebola has been confirmed as not infected with the deadly virus.

  1. Thoughts and prayers? That seems to be the go-to for so many things like massacres at home and abroad.
  2. Deny travelers to Ebola prone countries the ability to fly to the US until they have self-quarantines elsewhere for the contagious period, thereby spreading it around the world?

The Obama administration’s Ebola response was to send 3,000 health officials to the region who:

  1. Constructed treatment units in the region.
  2. Provided protective equipment and medical supplies.
  3. Operated almost 200 burial teams.
  4. Conducted aggressive contact tracing to locate other potentially infected cases.
  5. Trained health care workers and conducted community outreach.
  6. Identified travelers who may have Ebola before they left the region.

I suspect health officials would lobby for the same response with the rationale, the faster we end the outbreak there, the fewer infected individuals overall and less like they end up in the US: America First! But, this is the region the current president referred to as “shithole countries.” My guess is this is just the excuse needed to bar travel to or from there.

Zero-Sum Politics

Liberals see “rights” as something of a public good (like national defense or a scenic view), whose consumption by one individual doesn’t diminish consumption by others. In fact, they believe that all Americans are thereby made better off.

In the conservative version of identity politics, however, everything’s a zero-sum game: Freedom from discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion or other characteristics doesn’t unleash greater human potential to the benefit of all. Instead, it’s a step backward for everyone else, part of the never-ending war of all against all. Your gain is necessarily my loss.

In a world where one sees others gaining with a zero-sum game view, one should have fear for oneself, family, and friends. When the government encourages certain behaviors, they are picking winners and losers. Fear of being the loser becomes a real thing.

Whereas, with the non-zero-sum point of view, when the government encourages certain behaviors, it lifts up the lowest to improve the environment for everyone.

Closing In On an Earth-Sized Planet

Now Kepler has found the much-anticipated first rocky, Earth-sized exoplanet. It did it by staring for months on end at the same 150,000 stars in the constellation Cygnus. Kepler’s 1-meter-diameter telescope, hooked up to a sensitive light-measuring instrument, is capable of detecting the dimming of a star as a planet orbits in front of it—even if the star dims by only 0.01%. That’s like detecting the dimming of 10,000 light bulbs when one burns out, noted Kepler deputy science team leader Natalie Batalha of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. (Source)

Maybe we need to find one sooner rather than later?

“As I look out the window, I see a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful. Unfortunately, it is not…. These days, we are constantly reminded of the unspeakable acts of violence and damage we can inflict upon one another, not just with our actions, but also with our irresponsible words…. We’re better than this. We must do better.” Scott Kelly, Commander of the International Space Station and brother-in-law of of Gabrielle Gilfords

We Remember

Today is the day many Americans will signal (any nonverbal action or gesture that encodes a message) their nationalism by displaying pictures of the World Trade Center, the United State flag, NYFD logos, or yellow ribbons. Given the current climate, such signalling probably is wise as anyone like me who fails to appropriately signal can be viewed as a traitor. Unwilling to explicitly state hate and needing to show solidarity with those who do, people will opt for the subtle support.

I remember feeling sad for families who lost loved ones.

I remember hoping few of those who witnessed the events had sufficient emotional support and would avoid suffering Post Traumtic Stress Disorder.

I remember people writing or sayings the only terrorists are Muslims. They were completely oblivious that Timothy McVeigh was executed 3 months to the day earlier for committing the most recent terrorist bombing on United States soil.

Of course, I blogged about 9/11.

Anger, hate, and fear are destructive emotions. Nothing good comes from them. Good comes from deciding to go beyond them. Until then the terrorists really have won.

Nationalism

Soccer clubs are tied to a neighborhood or city. Doing well inspires local pride. National teams expand the base of supporters.

German Flag
German Flag

Beirut-born Ibrahim (or Youssef) Bassal displayed a 70′ x 20′ German flag to show his family’s solidarity during the World Cup where millions of smaller flags are everywhere. Only people keep vandalizing the flags because they brings up painful memories. It speaks volumes about the tension over national pride when people resort to vigilantism over something like a flag. Also, there is something ironic about people stealing a flag because to them it represents the Fourth Reich from someone who would be a victim if true.

“This time we’re not going to let them attack it. We’re going to guard our flag. We are sleeping here in the shop and waiting for Saturday. We’re not going to let the left-wingers destroy us — or the right-wingers. We live here. Our kids are born here. We want them to keep living here,” Bassal says.

Personally, I think the anti-nationalists forget their history. Of the many, many opportunities for Adolf Hitler to watch soccer, he only attended one and left early from it because Germany was losing to Norway. Since Hitler disliked football, this national pride in something he disliked should be a good thing.

One more thing… Long before Jackie Robinson integrated baseball, South American countries found black players could be very skilled and promoted integration. Hitler would oppose the team because of the racial diversity of the German team like Aogo, Cacau, Boeteng. Therefore, a win by the German national soccer team is a win against Hitler.
🙂