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Michael Gerson waves babies, supports bad public policy (birthright citizenship)

Michael Gerson - a George W Bush proxy - offers "Republicans are ramping up the birthright battle" (link). In the first part he makes a good case that the 14th Amendment was meant to include everyone born in the U.S. except for the children of foreign diplomats and members of Indian tribes, relying on the opinion of Garrett Epps of the University of Baltimore (law.ubalt.edu/template.cfm?page=1079).

Then, Gerson goes off the rails:

Today's dispute over birthright citizenship reveals the immigration debate in its starkest form. Usually, opponents of illegal immigration speak of giving lawbreakers what they deserve. But this does not apply in the case of an infant. Consider two newborn babies at, say, Parkland Hospital in Dallas [1]. One is the child of citizens, the other of illegal immigrants. Critics of birthright citizenship look at the child of immigrants and feel . . . disturbed? Outraged? But why? Do they see a child somehow tainted by illegality? That hardly seems fair. A burden on resources? No more than any other poor child. An alien lacking allegiance? How could they possibly know? Why not a soldier, or an entrepreneur, or, as the Constitution specifically permits, a president?

Gerson is disreputably smearing all those who oppose illegal immigration by pretending that they have personal animus towards not just adult illegal aliens but towards babies. His attempt is childish, when what we should be having is a grown-up debate about whether it's good public policy to allow the children of illegal aliens - including those who just arrived here recently - to automatically become U.S. citizens. The alternative scenario above would involve those babies being citizens of their parents' countries; no one's calling to evict them from their cribs. If we think there's some great harm in a baby being born a Mexican citizen or an Indian citizen or a Chinese citizen, then wouldn't Gerson have us be morally compelled to confer U.S. citizenship on the entire world. The downside to the parents and the child isn't any greater than if they were born in their own country; the question is whether we want to give them a highly valuable benefit.

Gerson is just a sleazy baby-waver, and all to support bad public policy that happens to fit into the horrible policies of the Bush family and those in their orbit.

[1] He probably chose Parkland because it's one of the examples that opponents of birthright citizenship point to: the hospital estimates that 70% of babies born there are to illegal aliens (MSNBC, 2006, link).

Fri, 08/13/2010 - 13:09 · Importance: 4