“In the wet-ass hour, who’s your daddy?” Al Pacino’s question in “Sea of Love” is getting a re-run, with a twist, in a question by Arizona’s junior senator, Jon Kyl: are your parents legal residents? Since, in many places north of south of the border, the answer is often “no,” Kyl wants to amend the 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship to all children born in the United States, to bar citizenship to children born here of illegal immigrants.
Yo, Jon, how many generations? Better be just one, with the others “grandfathered” in (do we have something against grandmothers?). Otherwise, to those who have been fighting terrorism since 1492, we are all illegal immigrants, and none of us is a citizen.
Moving right along, right smartly ….
One problem is that “illegal” is arbitrary. Change the law, let anyone coming into the country get a “Green Card” at, say, a Border Patrol station or Post Office within, say, 30 days, and the entire problem of “illegals” goes away. Refugees from Castro’s Cuba were initially illegal, then made legal by the Cuban Refugee Adjustment Act of 1966. No problem then, but a problem now for people like Kyl who, let’s face it, hate Hispanics.
But haters like Kyl might prevail and open a box of Pandoras, as a friend puts it.
Having two illegal immigrant parents is pretty clear. What about having one illegal immigrant parent? Does the gender of the illegal immigrant parent matter? Is the dad illegal—citizenship OK? Is the mother illegal—citizenship not OK? (Sounds like we are getting pretty Jewish here in parsing citizenship the way Jews parse religious identity.) Does it matter if the legal parent is a native-born or a naturalized citizen?
While Kyl is at it, and given his concerns about voter fraud, maybe he should know a little more about the legal parent: is he (or she) Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Tea Bagger; Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, or other; white, black, brown, yellow, red, or albino—not to mention half-tones; and so forth and so on?
What about marital arrangements in which a citizen marries an illegal immigrant, has a child, and then divorces? What if the citizen marries a foreigner, returns to this country, has a child, and then divorces? What if money is involved? Except for the money, soldiers bring home war brides all the time. Has anyone every heard of the brides then divorcing their husbands? By the way, the amendment to the Amendment had better establish rules for custody. Now, go back to the previous paragraph and run everything through the gender-citizenship status-party affiliation-religion-race sieve again.