By Raoul Lowery Contreras
Can’t some people read or comprehend the United States Constitution? Don’t they understand the “supremacy” clause of the Constitution? In a phrase— federal law trumps local and state law, federal law is supreme in our land.
Arizona is finding that out the hard way.
Now, we have lawyer politicians who don’t seem to understand the Constitution at all. Worse, they are Republicans trashing the greatest political achievements of the Republican Party that are unarguably the most important items ever approved by the states since the Constitution itself was approved.
I speak of the Constitution’s 13th Amendment which prohibited slavery; the 14th amendment which guarantees “due process of law,” and “equal protection” of the law as well as “natural” born citizenship; and, with the 15th, the right to vote for all citizens.
Specifically, we refer to the arguments that American children born of illegal alien parents should be denied natural-born citizenship. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina doesn’t think it is “right” for children born of illegal aliens to be automatic U.S. citizens.
For the ignorant: Article 1, 14th Amendment of the Constitution, “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…”
Those that argue a child born to an illegal alien mother is not a citizen is not only wrong, they are ignorant. That includes the only Southern Senator I pay attention to or acknowledge.
Has the Supreme Court looked at his argument? Yes. Let’s begin with the argument that the 14th Amendment only applies to Blacks who were slaves or their children. The Court dispensed with this argument in the Slaughterhouse Cases in the 1870s.
The Court ruled that laws apply to all, not just certain favored groups regardless of the circumstances or legislative intent. The Supreme Court also dispensed with a racial argument involving Mexicans in 1870. The argument made was that Mexicans were not white, thus not eligible for citizenship as per 1846 federal law which stated only “white” persons could become citizens. Texas argued this to the Court.
The Court ruled that the Treaty of Guadalupe governed the question when it clearly stated that Mexicans who remained in former Mexican now American territory, including Texas, would become citizens automatically one year after the Treaty took effect. Thus, as it had the force of the Constitution congressional law was overridden.
The Court took great pains to trace the history of citizenship in Great Britain, parent of the United States, of British Common Law on the subject and what the laws were in the United States when they became a country. It detailed Supreme Court decisions that examined citizenship (starting in 1804) and concluded that even before the 14th, children born in the United States were citizens unless they were born to foreign diplomats, Indians, on foreign ships in American waters or to women accompanying invading military forces.
The huge exception, of course, was the Dred Scott decision (1857) that ruled Africans could not be citizens because they were African, period. That issue was addressed by the Civil War. The decision was forcibly overturned by hundreds of thousands of Blue-uniformed Americans.
The 14th Amendment is drenched in blood.
Argument: It applied only to enslaved Africans and their slave children. Wrong, there is plenty of evidence that Senators considered foreigners. Many quotes exist in the congressional publication of the day that refers to “the strangers among us” and that included “Asiatics and Gypsies.”
Nonetheless, the arguments that only Blacks were covered by the 14th are mouthed by the 14th’s critics. The Amendment’s wording alone destroys that argument; to wit: ALL PERSONS BORN OR NATURALIZED in the United States…”
The people who want to revisit the 14th see Mexicans. Then they concoct a term “anchor babies” to describe children born to illegal aliens.
The words themselves are blatant proof that these people, those who use the term “anchor babies” are sheer racists. You see, “anchor babies” exist not in law or the Constitution but only in the minds of those who hate Mexicans. They equate the words “Anchor babies” to their traditional “N” word for those of African descent.
Contreras books are available at www.amazon.com