Updated: June 15, 2010 at 12:00 am
Republicans, once the party of prosperity and life, are hurting themselves and their country in an effort to outdo one another with immigration cynicism. Long gone from the Republican mainstream is an understanding that growth is good, life is good, and all wealth and human progress result from individuals and nothing else. In place of that knowledge is a modern welfare/poverty mentality that says we haven’t enough to go around and humans are a resource drain. Instead of fighting the welfare state, some have resorted to fighting potential recipients of welfare.
The latest effort to out-sinister the next Republican comes from Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce, who is basking in the spotlight because of his anti-baby plan known as the “anchor baby” bill. It would deny citizenship to babies born to illegal immigrants in Arizona, despite the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship to anyone born on American soil. The 14th Amendment reversed the egregious practice of denying citizenship to the offspring of slaves.
The phrase “anchor baby” is overtly racist. It dehumanizes an infant and assumes the most sinister motives of parents. The parents are presumably so monstrous that we know they plotted to conceive a child only for their own selfish gain. We’re told illegal immigrant parents sneak into the United States to wallow in welfare. To this end, they consummated their trespass in order to create a citizen who somehow prevents their deportation.
The “anchor baby” label is cynical and mean to an extreme, and based in mythology. The citizenship of a child seldom has bearing on deportation of parents. Children belong to parents, not the government. They may reside with the parents in either country until they reach the age of emancipation.
“I’ve had many clients who have faced deportation who go before an immigration judge who are ordered deported in spite of the fact they have U.S. citizen children,” Arizona immigration attorney Mo Goldman said on TV.
The United States needs more citizens, not fewer. The financial crisis and associated social unrest in Greece, and similar scenarios predicted for much of Europe, are the manifestation of demographic decline. Greeks allowed their fertility rate to fall below replacement during the 20th century, did not have the benefit of abundant immigration, and, as a result, the old far outnumber the young. The aging dependent class is too large for the younger productive class to support, which means consumption outpaces production. That’s why the country went broke. Governments have no wealth that isn’t derived from people who produce in the private sector. Societies need a majority of productive humans, citizen or not.
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The United States, with a fertility rate of 2.05 babies per woman, is roughly at replacement. Without offspring of immigrants, we would have already fallen below replacement and our future would be one of sustained hardship.
Genuine conservative Republicans — the old-fashioned kind who value life and prosperity — will have nothing to do with political ploys that will harm this country by harming the infants of illegal immigrants. Instead, they’ll embrace these young citizens and inspire them to reap the rewards of hard work, innovation and production.