Friday, August 07, 2009

Comments on The Belmont Club,
"Who goes there?"

1) Donofrio's website should not be considered a reliable source on this, or probably any, issue.

2) There is a distinction between "Naturalized at Birth" which Congress has the power to define and "Natural Born Citizen." The later may not be seen by the Court as within Congress's ambit. The former applies to a child of a US citizen born overseas. The governing law has changed over time. As I read it this bill extends the status of "Naturalized at Birth" but I doubt it will be seen as determining "Natural Born Citizen" status. In this it is part of a series of such refinements of the immigration law.

The fly in all these gymnastics was the need to validate John McCain's status as he was born on Panamanian soil while his father was assigned to the Canal Zone. Personally I think that he should be deemed as Natural Born and if need be we should amend the Constitution to protect the children of service members and diplomats.

The worst features in American law are the family unification provisions and the lottery systems. Both are I believe the work of Ted Kennedy and they replace the concept that an immigrant is an applicant proving their value to America with the idea that citizenship is a prize randomly awarded that the US is not sufficiently sovereign to intelligently grant or withhold.

It also has not been definitely settled as to whether a Natural Born citizen losses that status, but not their citizenship, if as an adult they take an oath to a foreign power or claim foreign nationality to gain some benefit. Once again it just my opinion but I believe that they do. This would apply to Barack Obama if he traveled on a foreign passport after his 18th birthday or claimed a special benefit as a foreign student. This could also prove a problem for people who serve in a foreign military. Thousands of Americans served in the Canadian, British or Chinese (Claire Channault's Flying Tigers) forces during WW-II and many others have served in the Israeli Defense Forces. Congress should be able to make exemptions for specified service with an ally while preserving the general principle.

The SCOTUS has already determined that except maybe in extraordinary circumstances citizenship itself cannot be lost for persons whose birth established them as US citizens under the 14th Amendment.
This discussion at closely tracks what I was taught at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

Until you have sat down to learn the web of changing immigration laws and the special categories that have been carved out for both nonimmigrant and immigrant visas you can have no idea how deliberately irrational it is. My favorite bit is the special visa category for critical defense workers, and fashion models. Why? Because that is how the law was written. Laws can be read like a story by an Anthropologist or excavated by an Archeologist. Every quirk has some back story that a Hollywood screen writer can imagine but which usually remains buried from sight. Was the above provision slipped in over a three martini lunch or because some staffer had a friend who wanted a date with a girl? The truth might be mundane but the possibilities are endless.

When I was at FLETC I sat in the back row of my classroom. To my left was a black man, very soft spoken and with an old fashioned sense of dignity, who was born in Georgia and lived as far North as you can get in Maine. He is older then I am and I am no longer young. There was one member of our class of 47 who was older and they no longer accept anyone of our age. As we were more or less following the power point on this topic and the instructor was droning away I was suddenly aware that my friend, and he was the person I usually studied with, was beating his fist on his desk and cursing. "God damn, God fucking damn. I want to kill." Now it may not speak well for me but I will confess that when an older but vigorous black man who has been trained in law enforcement techniques, including firearms and wrestling, declares that he wants to kill I feel somewhat unsettled, maybe even perturbed. So I asked "What is it?" or words to that effect. He replied, "I have been doing a man's work since I was 16 years old, and for what? To support this?" I put out my hand and said "Welcome to the Republican Party."

One question that hasn't been asked about this story of the valiant efforts of these selfless families pushing for this law in the face of heartless bureaucracies is, Why? Another would be, Is it a good idea?

What the proposed law does is grant any citizen the right to adopt any person who is under the age of 18 and bring them to America. That grants private parties the power to completely circumvent the entire immigration review process. That process includes a medical examination that excludes many applicants. Can such people now get admitted to the United States and receive the new health benefits because someone decides ex cathedra to do so? There are other grounds for excludability. If an Immigration Officer determines that someone is "likely to become a public charge," that is a welfare recipient, then they can be excluded. Obama's Aunt not only overstayed her visa but would normally be excludable on the public charge grounds. Suppose the adopted youth was a member of a terror cell or other criminal organization? Suppose they were a prostitute? Once their citizenship is granted then they can not be excluded or denied entry into the United States.

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