In Robert Everett Hale's short story “The Man Without A Country” a young man curses the United States saying that he wishes he may never hear her name again. His wish is granted and the man is kept at sea the rest of his life never being allow to set foot on land, or hearing the name of the United States.
If Representative Duncan Hunter of California and others like him have their way, then despite the United States constitution and the 14th amendment, and without uttering a word against the country of their birth, thousands of our youngest and most vulnerable citizens may find themselves quite literally children without a country.
The 14th amendment says “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the state in which they reside....” As citizens of the United States we have certain rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. One of those rights is that we Americans have the right to live in the country of our birth. Yet, Hunter wants to defy the constitution and deport thousands of American citizens because their parents are illegal immigrants.
It is easy to understand the quandary that politicians such as Hunter are in. They want the illegal immigrants out of this country, deported back to their country of origin. Since 73% of the children who are born to these illegal aliens were born in this country they hold the rights of citizenship. As things stand now, deporting these illegal parents forces the parents to either take their children with them to their own country, or to leave their children behind in a country where they have are a citizen, and the chance for a better life.
This could, if there is a mass deportation all at once, overwhelm the social services agencies if the parents decide to leave their children behind, which seems likely since many illegals come here in the hopes of providing their children with a better life than their home country offered. This could put an even heavier burden on some of the states and the federal government to care for these children.
Sins of Their Fathers
Hunter's solution to the problem is simple. Don't worry about the legal status of these children. Simply throw them out of their own country. After all, it seems only fair to him and others like him that the helpless children should be punished for the sins of their fathers. It does not matter to him and others like him that these children did nothing wrong, that their only crime is an accident of birth. Punish them he will. Why? Because he believes that the state of California cannot afford to care for these children, their own citizens.
His logic is that finances must come ahead of the welfare of a child, or in this case many children. He doesn't worry about these children simply because by the time they are old enough to vote, his term in office will be over so why protect their rights. He is believing that there are plenty of voters who see things his way and believe that it is right to deny American citizens their rights simply because they are too young to speak up.
Children Without A Country
One of the arguments these people use to take away these children citizenship is the argument that Mexico, which is where many of these children's parents come from does not bestow citizenship on children born on Mexican soil automatic citizenship if their parents are not Mexican nationals so we should therefore defy 100 years of constitutional law and say turn about is fair play.
What their argument does say, is that since these children are born on American soil and at this point in time are American citizens Mexico may choose not allow these children to cross their borders regardless of who their parents are by changing their own laws. Should Mexico make such a counter move these children will be left quite literally with no country. What would happen to them then. Like the young man in Hale's story will we then send them off to sea, never allowing them to have a homeland of their own? Will we simply release these children regardless of age or the ability to survive along the border to form a no man's land between one country and another?
Where Will It End?
Should these politicians get such drastic measures passed, where will it all end. Many of the illegal immigrants have been in this country so long that their children have grown up and had children of their own. Will we then deport these second generation citizens born on our soil as well as their illegal grandparents, and legal parents?
If you agree that these children who are born on American soil should no longer be considered citizens of the United States, then what of children born of American citizens on foreign soil? Are we to therefore decide that since they were born in a foreign country they should also be denied citizenship? If not, will any new law denying these children born on American soil be just?
Just where will it all end. If such a measure passes and these children lose their rights that are guaranteed by the constitution then who will be next? Will we then want to pass laws denying citizenship to the elderly who can no longer work, because we can't afford their care? Will we decide to declare people receiving social services or those who have lost their jobs unfit to be United States citizens?
Will we refuse to allow American citizens to adopt a child from overseas because they are not American by birth?
Is It Time To Make a Stand?
What it all boils down to is that the politicians allowed these illegal immigrants access to this country, they allowed the numbers of these immigrants to grow virtually unchecked year after year and now faced with the dilemma of having to solve the problem they want to solve it by attacking the most vulnerable among us the children.
No matter how one feels about illegal immigrants do we as Americans really want to stand by and see legal citizens denied their constitutional rights in order to try and solve the problem? Is this really what America has come to stand for? Freedom for some, but not for all?