Arizona Immigration Crackdown

Immigration Solution Takes Things Too Far
Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce introduced two illegal-immigration proposals on Feb. 7  that, if passed, would repeal the 14th Amendment.
SB 1308 allows the governor to sign an agreement with other states to make a distinction in birth records, creating a contract where a person can be a United States citizen only if she has at least one parent who is either a citizen or a legal permanent resident. More specifically, SB 1309 stipulates that a child born in Arizona will not attain citizenship unless one of the parents is a U.S. citizen.
The proposals are a response to “anchor babies,”  or the American-born children of illegal immigrants that allow their parents to stay in the country.
It’s a sweeping measure that will open a can of worms. If this measure actually passes, it will allow other states — after necessary legal procedures — to join in Arizona’s new requirements for citizenship. These laws would be a direct challenge to the 14th Amendment, which stipulates that any person born in the United States is automatically a U.S. citizen.
It makes sense that Arizona, a border state, wants to take action against illegal residents who use their children’s status to stay in the country. What makes no sense is that Pearce’s solution attacks a vital amendment.
America has been anxious about immigration for a century. Before, the supposed threat was being funneled through Ellis Island and the Jews, Irish and Germans were the outsiders.
Today’s immigration problem requires reform, but redefining citizenship, the very basis of American rights, is not the answer. Whether the alternative is amnesty for those already living in the United States or a revised immigration process, the actions worth taking is doesn’t involve changing the Constitution.
— Allison Gauss
staff writer

Bill Would Leave Children Citizenless

Once again, Arizona has proven itself the state to avoid if you’re an illegal immigrant. The state’s legislature is looking to pass a bill that would eliminate birthright citizenship within its borders and prevent children of illegal immigrants from becoming citizens. The bill is misguided because it would leave some children without citizenship.
Under this proposed law, children of immigrants born on American soil would not qualify for jus soli citizenship, or citizenship by birthplace, in their various home countries. Instead, they have to hope for jus sanguinis citizenship, which is possible if one or both parents, depending on the country in question, are already citizens.
Although the bill specifically targets illegal Mexican immigrants in Arizona, it would also apply to immigrants from any country. Unlike Mexico, where a child is automatically granted citizenship if a parent is a Mexican citizen, other countries have more stringent rules.
In countries like Argentina, both parents must be citizens for their child to gain citizenship. If only one parent is a citizen, their child is ineligible for Argentinean citizenship — and if the other parent is not an American citizen, under bill SB 1309, the child would also be ineligible for U.S. citizenship.
In other cases, both parents may not have clear citizenship records, leaving their citizenship status ambiguous. There are many potential floodgates this bill can open. In situations where children lack any formal citizenship, the courts would have to determine the right form of action for each individual case, creating yet another burden to the system.
In a country that celebrates its cultural melting pot, implementing such legislation would be a regressive step in the direction of the pre-Civil Rights era.
— Revathy Sampath-Kumar
Staff Writer

At Least Something is Being Done Right Now

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Illegal immigration in Arizona has reached hair-raising proportions — 400,000 entered the state just last year. Though arguments on illegal immigration reform usually end up in a debate on equal rights, at least the proposal to deny birthright citizenship to children of non-citizens shows that state lawmakers are taking action to fix the problem.
Approximately 11.1 million illegal immigrants currently reside in the United States, with 300,000 more crossing our borders each year. Most proposals to curb illegal immigration — like the infamous wall — in Arizona since 2007 have gone nowhere, and immigration reform still remains on the back burner halfway into Obama’s presidency.
The new bill, which reinterprets the 14th Amendment, demonstrates that lawmakers are getting creative with the immigration issue. It might be a drastic measure, but it’s also not finalized yet. There is a lot of room for argument and reinterpretation on the legislative floor.
The children of undocumented immigrants, pejoratively called “anchor babies,” complicate deportation issues, as many judges are unwilling to tear apart families. This measure will simplify the issue of judges having to go case-by-uncomfortable case, looking for a solution to each individual immigration problem.
Detractors may be quick to point fingers and deem the new proposal essentially “un-American,” but the bottom line is, any progress toward a resolution is more than welcome at this point. Although the bill may not be an end-all solution to illegal immigration, the proposition of new ideas still brings us one more option on how to end the issue.
— Hilary Lee
Contributing writer

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