Thursday, September 17, 2009

Citizenship for all?

On the day before Citizenship Day (a non-Federal holiday traditionally celebrated by going to work and then coming home to watch whatever's on the telly that night), the Orange County Register asks, "Should United States citizenship be automatic for anyone born in the US?"

The answer is clearly "no" for no small number of OCers:
On the eve of Citizenship Day, immigration advocates reacted to anti-illegal immigration groups who are attempting to cut off automatic citizenship for children who were born on United States soil.

One such California initiative – created by San Diego resident Ted Hilton – hopes to impose new rules for birth certificates, essentially calling for the state to issue one type of birth certificate to children of U.S. citizens and green card holders and another to children of temporary residents and of those who are here illegally.

"I think the automatic citizenship policy is bankrupting California, and we have to terminate that," Hilton said.

He said he is hoping for the California Taxpayer Protection initiative to make its way onto the ballot in June.

Evelyn Miller, whose Irvine home serves as something of a clearinghouse for incoming petitions from surrounding counties, said she's doing it to stop the "invasion" of people coming to the country illegally. Miller is a member of anti-illegal immigration group California Coalition for Immigration Reform, based in Huntington Beach.
The OCR story even has a neat little poll with a very loaded set of answer choices, though I'll show you the results before you have a chance yourself to participate:

Frankly, I don't think anyone should have full citizenship unless they can pass a test. If you can't tell me something basic like how many Senators, House Representatives, or Supreme Court Justices there are, and how long they serve, then you shouldn't be deciding who does the deciding.

At any rate, I don't like the idea of tinkering with this long-practiced notion of citizenship-for-all-comers. But I suppose if there had to be a change, I could accept one where citizenship were automatically granted only to those whose parents were in the United States legally, but that would have to include those on student visas, unexpired tourist visas, temporary work visas, etc.

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1 comment:

  1. A test? Good grief. I know the naturalization process requires would-be citizens to regurgitate facts. I don't know that this makes them more responsible citizens.

    I would like to see birthright citizenship restricted to the children of citizens and legal immigrants. I'm not concerned about so-called anchor babies or taxes spent on public services for the children of undocumented residents. It's that handing out citizenship like a crackerjack box prize to any person who happens to be born on US soil demonstrates little value for something so precious. I'm not bothered by US citizen children of undocumented immigrants, as most of these children will grow up in the US and be as American as you or I. I'm less comfortable with people who enjoy the benefits of US citizenship because they were born here to foreign parents but have contributed little or nothing and have no real American identity because they were raised in their parents' home country or elsewhere. Likewise, naturalization should be difficult to obtain, requiring strong evidence of participation in American society either through marriage and/or long-term residency in the US. A green card should be sufficient for those who wish to have a permanent right to come and go from the US.

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