Sunday, March 30, 2014

Biden: Illegal Aliens Are Already Americans

By Douglas V. Gibbs

Good ol' Joe.  If anything, he is entertaining.  Recently, Vice President Joe Biden said, in a speech to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Legislative Summit, “Eleven million people living in the shadows I believe are already American citizens.  These people are just waiting, waiting for a chance to be able to contribute fully, and by that standard, 11 million undocumented aliens are already Americans in my view.”

Mr. Biden, of course, was wrong in his speech on so many levels. The concept of full allegiance was an important concept to the Founding Fathers.  During the first century of the existence of the United States, though immigrants were needed, and welcomed, the immigrants accepted were those that were willing to go through the legal process of immigration, and throw off the allegiance they had to their homeland.  Divided loyalties was something guarded against.  Full assimilation was expected.

During the writing of the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment, one of the Civil War Amendments, the writers of the clause, Senators Trumbull and Howard, aimed to keep the wording of that important addition to the Constitution within the parameters that would have been accepted by the founders.

The clause reads:

"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."
In the case of today's illegal immigration issue, this clause has been misinterpreted to mean that “all persons born in the United States are automatically citizens,” which is not the case. The defining term in this clause that enables the reader to recognize that citizenship needs more than just being born on American Soil reads: "subject to the jurisdiction, thereof."

To understand the term regarding jurisdiction, one may go to the debates on the congressional record of the 14th Amendment. In those debates, and in articles of that time period written to explain the intent of the language of the amendment, one finds that “full jurisdiction” was meant to mean “full allegiance to America.”

The intention was to protect the nation against persons with divided loyalties.

The writers of the Fourteenth Amendment wished to follow the importance of "full loyalty" as portrayed by the Founding Fathers. As far as the founders were concerned, there could be no divided allegiances. They expected citizens to be fully American.

Despite the defeat of the Confederacy in the American Civil War, after hostilities ended the emancipated slaves were not receiving the rights and privileges of American citizens as they should have been. The former slaves were present in the United States "legally," and because they were here legally they were "subject to the jurisdiction thereof," but they were still not receiving any assurance of equal protection under the law.

The Civil Rights Act of 1866 was created in the hopes of correcting the problem. Some of the language in the Civil Rights Act of 1866 states, "All persons born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States. ... All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, penalties, taxes, licenses, and exactions of every kind, and to no other."

The definition of "persons within the jurisdiction of the United States" in that act was all persons at the time of its passage, born in the United States, including all slaves and their offspring, but not having any allegiances to any foreign government.

Michigan Senator Jacob Howard, one of two principal authors of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment (the Citizenship Clause), noted that its provision, "subject to the jurisdiction thereof," excluded American Indians who had tribal nationalities, and "persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers."

Exact quotes:

Mr. HOWARD: I now move to take up House joint resolution No. 127.

The motion was agreed to; and the Senate, as in Committee of the Whole, resumed the consideration of the joint resolution (H.R. No. 127) proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

The first amendment is to section one, declaring that all "persons born in the United States and Subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the States wherein they reside. I do not propose to say anything on that subject except that the question of citizenship has been fully discussed in this body as not to need any further elucidation, in my opinion. This amendment which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons. It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States. This has long been a great desideratum in the jurisprudence and legislation of this country.”

He even went out of his way to indicate that children born on American soil of foreign citizens are not included.

Clearly, the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment had no intention of freely giving away American citizenship to just anyone simply because they may have been born on American soil.

The second author of the Citizenship Clause, Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull, added that "subject to the jurisdiction of the United States" meant "not owing allegiance to anybody else."


The full quote by Senator Trumbull reads:

"The provision is, that 'all persons born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens.' That means 'subject to the complete jurisdiction thereof.' What do we mean by 'complete jurisdiction thereof?' Not owing allegiance to anybody else. That is what it means."

Trumbull continues, "Can you sue a Navajo Indian in court? Are they in any sense subject to the complete jurisdiction of the United States? By no means. We make treaties with them, and therefore they are not subject to our jurisdiction. If they were, we wouldn't make treaties with them...It is only those persons who come completely within our jurisdiction, who are subject to our laws, that we think of making citizens; and there can be no objection to the proposition that such persons should be citizens."


Senator Howard concurred with what Mr. Trumbull had to say:

"Mr. HOWARD: I concur entirely with the honorable Senator from Illinois [Trumbull], in holding that the word 'jurisdiction,' as here employed, ought to be construed so as to imply a full and complete jurisdiction on the part of the United States, whether exercised by Congress, by the executive, or by the judicial department; that is to say, the same jurisdiction in extent and quality as applies to every citizen of the United States now."

Based on these explanations by the writers of the clause, then, it is understood that the intention was for those who are not born to American citizens to have no birthright to citizenship just because they simply were born inside the borders of this country.

The courts have interpreted the Citizenship Clause to mean other things, but we must remember that the Constitution cannot be changed by the courts. Changes to the Constitution can only be made by amendment (Article V.).
Joe Biden also screwed up on the numbers he presented.  First of all, the myth that there are only 11 million illegal aliens in this country is believed by nearly nobody, except those in the voting pool that do things like call 911 because McDonald's ran out of Chicken McNuggets, or believe that North Korea is somewhere near Australia.  The number of illegal aliens in this country is closer to 40 million, and probably grossly exceeds even that very high estimate.

Are the illegal aliens "living in the shadows"?  How is it we can trace back to the single source cow in a nationwide case of mad cow disease, but we don't have a good idea on where illegal aliens are hiding, or the exact number of illegal aliens in the country?

He said they are waiting, waiting for a chance to be able to contribute fully.  If they are not "contributing," then how is it they can pay to stay?

Then, in his speech, Joe Biden drew from a figure of the late nineteenth century, taking out of context, and leaving out important parts, the words of President Theodore Roosevelt, when in 1894 in a speech titled "True Americanism," the Rough Rider said, according to Biden, "Americanism is not a question of birthplace or creed or a line of descent. It’s a question of principles, idealism and character."  Except, that's not exactly what the man carrying a big stick said, and there is much more to what Roosevelt said and meant.

Roosevelt said, “Americanism is a question of spirit, conviction, and purpose, not of creed or birthplace. The politician who bids for the Irish or German vote, or the Irishman or German who votes as an Irishman or German, is despicable, for all citizens of this commonwealth should vote solely as Americans.”

In the same speech, Roosevelt also states, “The patriotism of the village or the belfry is bad, but the lack of all patriotism is even worse.”

“The man who becomes Europeanized, who loses his power of doing good work on this side of the water, and who loses his love for his native land, is not a traitor; but he is a silly and undesirable citizen. He is as emphatically a noxious element in our body politic as is the man who comes here from abroad and remains a foreigner.”

That last part is particularly problematic considering that few of those being legalized actually want to be Americans in that sense of the word.

“Even if the weaklings who seek to be other than Americans were right in deeming other nations to be better than their own, the fact yet remains that to be a first-class American is fifty-fold better than to be a second-class imitation of a Frenchman or Englishman…”

“We welcome the German or the Irishman who becomes an American. We have no use for the German or Irishman who remains such. We do not wish German-Americans and Irish-Americans who figure as such in our social and political life; we want only Americans, and, provided they are such, we do not care whether they are of native or of Irish or of German ancestry. We have no room in any healthy American community for a German-American vote or an Irish-American vote, and it is contemptible demagogy to put planks into any party platform with the purpose of catching such a vote…”

“But where immigrants, or the sons of immigrants, do not heartily and in good faith throw in their lot with us, but cling to the speech, the customs, the ways of life, and the habits of thought of the Old World which they have left, they thereby harm both themselves and us.”

In other words, Joe Biden was cherry picking that speech, and doing so poorly.

Joe Biden compared illegal immigrants to immigrants who legally entered the United States, saying it took “a lot of courage” to pick up and go to America where they don’t speak the language and no one seems to want them.

If they are that courageous, then why can't they do what my father-in-law did, which was save his money, and come over to this country through legal channels?  Is it courageous to break the law?  Who is more courageous, the person who saves up the money to purchase an item, or the person that walks into a store and steals it?

“All they want—they just want a decent life for their kids, a chance to contribute to a free society, a chance to put down roots and help build the next great American century. I really believe that. That’s what they’re fighting for,” Biden added.

Then why not fight to turn their country back into a free society?  Why come here to do to America what they did to Mexico, before they abandoned it?

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Biden: 11 Million Undocumented Aliens are Already Americans in My View - CNS News

Biden Misquote Teddy Roosevelt in Support of Illegal Alien Amnesty - FrontPage

Congressional Globe, 39th Congress (1866) pg. 2890: Senator Jacob Howard States the Intent of the Fourteenth Amendment Published in the Congressional Record, May 30, 1866.

The Civil Rights Act - April 9, 1866

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