OP-ED: Upending Constitution to fit immigration needs not an option
Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, one of the 17 candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, says emphatically he is offended by Donald Trump's suggestion that the children of illegal aliens who are born on U.S. soil be deprived of their citizenship.
For that reason, if none other, Gilmore's standing in the pecking order of chief executive wannabes should be near the top of the long list not at the bottom. He gets it as perhaps few of his competitors, a number of whom have been tepid or utterly absent in defense of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states unequivocally that:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the state wherein they reside."
Amending the amendment is what we are talking about here, and the implications of that are startling. The Amendment further ensures equal protection under the law, prohibiting arbitrary action by the states. But just trying to deal with its first sentence birth protection could lead to chaos and unthinkable results. Your birthright is inviolate. You are an American because you were born here. Take that away from one group and you could take it away from all.
If you are a candidate for the highest office in the land who supports Trump's unconscionable attack on one of this country's strongest guarantees of participation in the benefits of the Republic just by your silence, you should not be. If you do not understand that this 1868 amendment, and the one ahead of it abolishing slavery, were the final nails in the coffin of that monstrous institution, you should withdraw your candidacy immediately.
Donald Trump is a self promoting jerk who seems to have an affinity for walls and Nazi German-like abridgement of human rights and American principles. Fortunately for most of us, even those in the American electorate whose anger at the so-called establishment draws them to this unholy flame, Trumps' rhetoric is as hollow as his head seems to be.
Even if, God forbid, he should become the next occupant of the White House, he could not accomplish what he proposes.
There is absolutely no way that this symbol of world freedom could round up 12 million men, women and children who are undocumented and send them who knows where.
Even if it could be done, the blight would forever stain this nation, which once appealed for the huddled masses yearning to be free. We would be eternally a lesser place historically condemned once and for all as a failed experiment.
Trump knows this. So in addition to being a demagogue with little or no practical understanding of statecraft, he is a liar. Not since a Southern candidate campaigned on the promise to take a pitchfork to his opponents has there been a better example of irresponsibility and disingenuousness.
Gilmore is a constitutional lawyer by profession and one who understands the nuances of the document that has guided the nation throughout its history.
Is there need for meaningful immigration reform? Of course there is. But the Congress has met every attempt with a solid wall of opposition to every reasonable proposal, including the one hammered out by a rare coalition of both Republican and Democrats. No president — George W. Bush not excepted — has found himself unable to pry definitive, fair reform from the legislature. The hang up always seems to be a path to citizenship for those who have fled here, even one that under the current proposal would take them years to achieve.
Many Americans are upset about the flood of illegal immigrants from our southern borders. But upending our Constitution is not a viable suggestion. The hateful nonsense being spewed by Trump should be disavowed wholesale by the rest of the GOP pack. There are millions upon millions of Americans whose parents or grandparents were born here as the progeny of those who immigrated from the world over and never bothered to become official citizens.
Those of you who find this nitwit's proposal appealing take a look at your family tree. Chances are you would find an ancestor who never bothered to become naturalized but who was a productive citizen nevertheless.
Who is to blame for Trump? Certainly a large share belongs to the media. But some of it, with an exception or two, belongs to the rest of GOP flock who would put politics above sane policy.