Immigration Laws and the Onslaught of Unintended Consequences 3

If America is an idea, we're in trouble, because that idea is being changed underneath us.

Ronald Reagan famously said:

The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.

Not a day goes by but what we see more evidence of his wisdom: there is no problem so great that government cannot make it worse, and at vast expense.  For some decades, we've been dealing with a cancerous Left that wants to use the power of government to force everyone to toe their politically-correct line, but the worst damage to our lives and liberties can be done by well-meaning allies on our own side who don't think things through.

Donald Trump's greatest strength has been his absolute self-confidence combined with his utter unpredictability which has made it almost impossible for his enemies to lay a blow on him - they never know where he'll be from moment to moment. Unfortunately, much of the time he doesn't know where he'll be from moment to moment either.  This isn't necessarily crippling, but occasionally it can lead to him stepping into quicksand.

As we've explored thus far in this series, much though we applaud the principle of not awarding citizenship to the "anchor baby" children of illegal immigrants, the actual practicalities of enforcing this in the real world make us turn pale.  Given the extremely politically divided nature of our current body politic, the overall lack of good faith of politicians and bureaucrats on all sides, and a general air of utter incompetence and malfeasance, it's all too easy to imagine a disastrous train wreck of monumental proportions with citizenships being randomly denied and awarded on no rational basis whatsoever - the worst possible outcome, devaluing the whole premise of American citizenship itself.

Yet, as bad as that would be, it's not even the worst imaginable result of this otherwise laudable effort at righting a wrong and solving a serious, very real problem.

America, the Idea

To begin with, we need to consider what America is - or, more particularly, what makes an American.

For most of history, nationalities have been pretty straightforward - you are a member of the nation, or more commonly the tribe you were born in, consisting of everybody you are related to.  Angles, Saxons, Normans, Jutes, Franks, Goths, and so on all knew who they were.

Over time, as various conquests took place, merging also occurred - hence the Anglo-Saxons, conquered by Danes and Normans, eventually merged into Englishmen, even while Franks, Burgundians, and other Normans merged into Frenchmen.  By the early modern era, you might have the occasional immigrant, particularly in royal palaces and major cities, but by and large, the concept of citizenship as blood-relations remained.

In this context, the concept of America was entirely new.  It's true that most colonial Americans were native Englishmen, but America itself was never designed nor thought of that way.  That didn't mean that just anyone from anywhere could come and be an American, at least not right away - Chinese were explicitly excluded from citizenship for a long time, and we all know the sordid history of racism against Africans.  But the link to genetics was never strong, and from the beginning there were entirely non-English Americans - Frenchmen, Spaniards, Dutchmen, Germans of various sorts, and over time, a fair smattering even of Indians.

But if people aren't related to each other, what holds a nation together?  America's answer: the Constitution.  This is explicitly stated in the Oath of Naturalization taken by a new citizen:

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same...

Contrast this with, say, the oath of naturalization of the United Kingdom:

I, [name], [swear by Almighty God] [do solemnly, sincerely and truly affirm and declare] that, on becoming a British citizen, I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs, and successors, according to law.

See the difference? At the time of our founding, most allegiance was based on genetic heritage, and was sworn to a particular ruler and their family.  America's allegiance was, instead, anchored by a piece of paper - more accurately, the unique and innovative ideas written on that paper.

This isn't just a meaningless distinction.  Ever since World War II, it has been illegal for any Nazi to either come to this country or to become a naturalized citizen, at least without special permission and investigation.  Why?  Because, while anyone can be loyal to a specific human being, in order to be loyal to an idea you have to believe in that idea.

The fundamental beliefs of Nazism are inherently opposed to the fundamental beliefs expressed in the U.S. Constitution.  It is simply not possible to be a good Nazi and a loyal American: to the extent that you are a loyal American, you're a bad Nazi, and vice versa.  Our immigration law simply reflects this fairly straightforward reality and saved everybody a lot of bother.

Of course, enforcing this rule was made a lot easier once we finished flattening Germany.  It wasn't that hard to determine who was a Nazi: we had the Nazi Party records, including everybody's fingerprints, photos, and descriptions of distinguishing marks.  Nonetheless, the last Nazi criminal wasn't deported until nearly the dawn of the Trump era.

With the long-overdue shuffling of Hitlerian Nazis from off this mortal coil, the rule doesn't work quite so easily, but the law is still enforced against neo-Nazis for whom Hitler is merely a mustachioed face in a history book.  There are quite a few countries now which ban foreigners with unwelcome political views - the U.K. is becoming quite noted for rejecting right-wingers these days - but under international law, each sovereign state has an absolute right to forbid entry to whomsoever it pleases.

These are the grounds on which we've stated our support for a ban on Muslim immigration or at least adherents of Sharia law: like Hitlerian Nazis, devout adherents of Islam believe that nobody has a right to hold or express views other than their own and consider it their obligation to enforce this diktat by whatever violence suits the occasion.

No sane civilization openly allows alien invaders who are violently opposed to the very foundational beliefs underpinning that civilization.  Nazis opposed the ideas which founded our civilization, and they had to be opposed with deadly force.  The same applies to fundamentalist Islamofascists, or would if we still lived in a sane world.

However, there's a critical distinction: Every nation has a right to keep out undesirable foreigners, but a free nation cannot impose similar restraints on its own citizens - at least, not and still remain a free nation.

We saw a vivid illustration of this principle at the first Trump inauguration: Tens of thousands of heavily-publicized and questionably-dressed protesters expressed their disgust with the will of the American voter and their contempt for the duly elected President of their country.  As Americans, they have every right to do so, as long as they do it peacefully - setting the limo on fire and smashing store windows was over the line.

A fair number of people from other countries wanted to do the same but were turned away at the border.  A moment's thought reveals how sensible this is.  It's one thing to have to listen to complaints from your own children in your living room, but there's no reason to put up with similar complaints from strangers off the street.

Similarly, we can and do ban foreign Nazis from coming here, but people who are already American citizens have a Constitutional right to espouse the evils of Nazism, even though it's contrary to everything our nation stands for.  You occasionally see a handful of neo-Nazis and enrobed KKKers protesting on a street, protected by hordes of police from other Americans who strongly disagree with their views.

That's as it should be: as odious as is fascism, the thuggery of so-called "antifa" is every bit as foul and is in fact fascist itself.  Our government owes all Americans protection when exercising their right of peaceful free speech and protest.

The Fine Print

Let's return for a moment to anchor babies, birthright citizenship, and the Fourteenth Amendment.  Our argument as to why babies born to illegal immigrants have no right to U.S. citizenship lies in the meaning of the terms used in the text:

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. [emphasis added]

What exactly does this mean?  Let's ask two of the Senators who actually passed the Fourteenth Amendment:

Both Sen. Trumbull and Sen. Howard provide the answer, with Trumbull declaring:

"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."

In other words, the very people who wrote and voted on the Fourteenth Amendment believed that it applied only to people who were not loyal to something other than the Constitution of the United States of America.

Obviously, citizens of another country are not loyal to the Constitution, nor do they have any duty to be - they are subjects or citizens of their own country.  They have no right to be here other than what we choose to grant, and the same logically applies to any children they may have while here.

By the inherent principles of their beliefs, Nazis and Islamofascists have allegiance to a power that they view as higher, whose tenets are in direct opposition to the principles of the Constitution.  That is why we don't want them here.  So far, so sensible, right?

There's one problem: the combination of both of these principles leaves open a deadly gap, just waiting for practitioners of leftist lawfare to drive through and destroy the rest of our American freedoms.  We'll see how in the next article in this series.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Immigration.
Reader Comments

The constitutional republic styled "United States of America" is moribund, on life support and only exists as a technicality as the basis of the operations of "United States". Physically all of us are within the exterior boundaries of the Republic. However, all of us are "in commerce" everyday as we go about our daily lives. That commerce and our daily lives are lived out in a jurisdiction other than the Republic which was created under the Common Law".

By agreement,either written as in signing up for a SS card or by silent acquiescence, we have agreed to operate our lives within the statutory maritime jurisdiction created by the entity called "United States?

Yes there is a difference between "United States of America" and "United States". They are not the same entity and do not occupy the same territorial space.

The best illustration I can give is that the "United States of America" is the apartment complex itself, the physical location. "United States" is the management agent for the physical location i.e. the apartment complex.

An example I ran across yesterday. A document which conveyed certain rights, an easement, to the "United States of America". The grantee was shown as follows, "United States of America, by the United States Department of ____". Pick a department, I do not recall the specific department named. The point is that here is a very simple illustration wherein the "United States" is indicating that it is operating as the managing agent for "United States of America".

There are may very good writings out there find some and read them. You will be surprised to learn just what the structure of the governments of this nation really are.

This one is a good one but written at a very high level but worth reading it over and over again. See, "Purging America of the Matrix". You will find that and six others by that author at

November 29, 2018 7:02 AM
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