Wednesday, August 04, 2010

International Statards for Naturalization

The writers of the 14th Amendment were dealing directly with groups that were trying to exclude former slaves and native Americans from citizenship (real racism) when they wrote:

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.

So, if a person is born in land under US jurisdiction, that person becomes a de facto citizen of the United States regardless of the citizenship of the parents or other considerations.

This clause puts the United States outside of international standards which consider the nationality of the parents.

Even worse, the law seems to create situations where people have children specifically to work the system. This is not a good thing in an overcrowded planet.

Our immigration laws not reciprocated throughout the world. So, section 1 of the 14th amendment creates a one way valve.

When the United States is reduced to third world status, walls will prevent emigration from the United States.

The 14th amendment was written in a time when the recorded US popularion was at 23 million. Current estimates of illegal immigration range from 12 to 20 million.

The amendment was also written in a time when people simply did not imagine the ease with which pregnant women could travel.

Apparently there is talk about amending the Constitution to address naturalization. Much of the talk is aimed at the illegal immigration problem.

Now, having a law that invites gaming of the system is bad. Passing a reactionary law to punish the children for illegal acts of the parents is worse.

So, before talking about amending the Constitution, one needs to take a step back and look and look at this problem from a wider perspective.

Cititizenship and naturalization are problems faced by all nations.

As this is an issue faced by all nations, citizenship and naturalization laws must be coordinated among nations.

Failure to work out immigration laws on an international level runs the risk of creating large populations of displaced peoples.

So, with these problems in mind. I would be supportive of an amendment that allows Congress to set immigration policies that fit within international standards.

Coordinated laws could improve mobility, and reduce displaced populations.

In contrast, a system where countries end up with one way valves create instability.

Putting this another way: Having our immigration policy set by the Constitution reduces our ability to work out immigration laws with other nations. The ability to negotiate immigration standards should help the world reduce problems with displaced people.

1 comment:

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