Several commentators have recently remarked on the irony of Tea Partiers’ ostentatious flaunting of the Constitution at the same time that when they get down to specifics they and their congressional surrogates are more likely to want to trash the constitution than to preserve it. In order to construct a constitution more to their liking, various fringewing GOPers have proposed more than 42 constitutional amendments, not to mention extensive tinkering with existing amendments. They have proposed repealing the 17th Amendment (they prefer to have Senators appointed by state legislatures rather than stand for election); the 16th Amendment (which provides for direct taxation of income); “restoring” the 13th Amendment (the changes to the original Amendment were made to ban slavery); and changing parts of the 14th Amendment that permit definitions of citizenship that are worrisome for the anti-immigrant GOP.
In regard to the 14th Amendment specifically, Missourians worried about the hordes “swarming across our border,” in the words of Nevada Tea Partier Sharon Angle, in order to have “anchor babies,” will be happy to know that, according to analyses performed by the folks at ThinkProgress, almost all of our Missouri GOP House delegation have supported changes which would eliminate a guarantee of citizenship for individuals born in the U.S.
Roy Blunt (R-07), Sam Graves (R-05), Todd Akin (R-02), Jo-Ann Emerson (R-08) are among the 130 Reublicans who support changes in the 14th Amendment. If the GOP retakes the House they may actually get their way:
Ending birthright citizenship is no idle belief in the GOP caucus. Rather, Republicans have been pushing this idea for nearly two decades, introducing 28 separate bills to eliminate birthright citizenship since 1995.
The people to whom our Missouri GOPers are pandering are the same people who welcomed the Obama presidency by stockpiling weapons in order to defend their hallowed 2nd amendment rights, though that poorly worded Amendment – or its current interpretation – may be the only part of the Constitution that they do respect. (The 10th Amendment and a few other sections might seem to enjoy the same status, but only if the Tea Party is allowed to interpret them according to their druthers, the possibility of which is still open to question.)
The other interesting fact about this near-universal support to prevent “anchor babies” from being conceived, is that these Missourians are willing to tinker with the constitution to fix a problem that doesn’t really exist. According to an article on RealClearPolitics:
… Pregnant Mexican women from border towns do commonly cross just to have a baby in the U.S. But their extended families have often straddled the border for a century or more. The women tend to be middle class, pre-pay the hospitals in cash and go home, though their children can someday return.
A handful of tourists do the same, but the total of all these is minuscule. Significant are the 4 million children in 2008 with one or more unauthorized immigrant parents spread throughout the country, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. Repeated studies, however, show that their parents came for jobs or to join family. The children were normal byproducts of life, and not an immigration strategy. The parents are not eligible for welfare or for citizenship until after the child turns 21.