This morning , a loudmouth, Squirrel I call " Mr. Nutso" started squawking and squalling about " Anchor Babies". (Anchor Babies is a derogatory term used by some to describe the American-born children of illegal aliens: especially aliens of Mexican or Latino origin.)
To hear him talk , the world was about to come to an end if we didn't do something- right now - about the 14th Amendment to the Constitution : specifically the part that defines all persons born in the United States as Citizens.
Note 1 : "Mr. Nutso" is an unfair, exaggerated stereotype.
She insisted the 14th Amendment needed to be replaced with an "amended amendment" that would exclude the children of parents who were not US citizens at the time the children were born. " We've got to get rid of the Anchor Babies !", she honked.
Note 2: "Old Ms Goose" is also an unfair, exaggerated stereotype.
"Whoa !", I shouted. "You critters are giving me a headache !!"
I reached for my coffee cup and drained it. " What exactly do you want from my life ?"
(Lord help us ! ANOTHER party heard from !!)
" It has come to our attention you post on the Internet ," Br'er Fox said smoothly.
"We'd like you to post a petition , calling for a small change in the 14th Amendment that would keep the children of those criminal invaders from Mexico from becoming " birthright citizens" .
" Your doing so would make a lot of people happy - and some of them might be ...grateful. Who knows ? "
Note 3 : Br'er Fox is my third unfair, and exaggerated stereotype.
For those of you who are unable-or unwilling to read between the lines, I have just used three unfair stereotypes ( for which I will probably be "flamed") to call your attention to a debate that has spilled over from the Internet into the halls of Congress : a debate, I might add , in which stereotypes are the coin of the realm.
"Anchor Babies" ( so-called,because of a widespread misconception that having a baby on US soil somehow immunizes the parents against deportation ) are a problem. These "birthright citizens" are typically low-income, and are thereby eligible for the same wide range of (expensive) social services : medicaid ,welfare,educational grants , etc. all other low-income citizens may apply for and receive.
The children of illegal aliens live in a world in which the next knock on the door might be from Immigration agents : a world in which authority of all sorts is feared and resisted;a world too often ruled by violent street gangs. This is especially noted in Latinos of all sorts, and Mexicans in particular. Rates of criminality among these first generation " meso-Americans" are shockingly high: a recent study showed there were far more first generation Latino Americans in prison than in college .
Before you join Ms Goose in shouting : " See ? I told you so !!" , keep in mind this pattern of gang activity among 1st generation Latino-Americans almost exactly matches patterns America has seen before: the Irish mobs of Hell's Kitchen, La Cosa Nostra, the Jewish Syndicate,the Australian mob in San Francisco, the Chinese Tongs, etc.: all drawing on low-income first generation Americans for their membership and muscle. I don't have statistics to prove that point, but the old newspaper accounts are pretty convincing on that score.
Clearly, "Anchor Babies" are an expensive high-risk group - during their first generation on American soil ; but, once the second generation comes along, the children seem to turn out pretty much the same as children from other backgrounds: generally good and worthwhile citizens - who are well worth the high investment we have made in their futures.
Like other citizens , second generation Latinos turn out to vote : something I think fuels a lot of the angry debate on immigration issues.
There are many in this country who see "non-white" participation in government as yet another threat to the "good old days" of white domination.
I'm not talking about the "Dixiecrat" days, in which raw power was used to keep non-whites from voting. I'm talking about the subtle "understandings" that were used to keep whites "on top" : understandings that were political,occupational,and social.
For example, there were "white man's jobs" - and there were jobs assigned to "others". Being a highly-skilled machinist was a white man's job: sweeping up behind him was reserved for "others". A white man would get to drive the forklift - "others" would manhandle the bales or boxes he dumped at the edge of the loading platform. That was just the way things worked .
Now those "other-than-whites" are becoming a political force in America , and a lot of American politicians don't like the idea of competition muscling in on what used to be their turf ; and their idea of a solution is to change the rules in such a way as to disenfranchise potential Latino voters.
Let me pose a rhetorical question to those who want to tinker with the 14th Amendment : Would it be okay with you if we tinkered with other provisions of the Bill of Rights ?
How about Freedom of Speech ? The right to keep and bear arms ? Freedom of Worship ? The right to assemble peaceably and petition government ?
If it ain't broke,don't fix it !
Leave the 14th Amendment alone !!