BYH Democrats, compromise! And cooperate! I mean, compromise and cooperate as much as McConnell did with Obama....

Birthright citizenship poor place to start reform

AP Explains Birthright Citizenship-2

Jose Aguilar, and his wife, Maria, read a book with their children Jose Jr.,7, and Jennifer, 9, at their home in National City, Calif. The Aguilar children are U.S. citizens by virtue of their American birth, but their parents face deportation back to their homeland of Mexico.


Sunday, November 4, 2018

President Trump’s assertion on Tuesday that he could end birthright citizenship via an executive order likely is another attempt to stir up immigration as a campaign issue ahead of next week’s midterm election.

It’s a bad and almost certainly unconstitutional idea, and had the matter stopped there, it would hardly merit serious discussion.

Then, a few hours later in a series of tweets, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he would introduce legislation “along the same lines” as Trump’s proposed executive order. It’s not the first time Graham, long an advocate of immigration reform, has suggested such a change. But he now has a president open to the idea.

Executive orders have been used inappropriately in the past to implement sweeping changes in immigration policy, and presidents from both parties have used the tactic in other sometimes dubious ways. But birthright citizenship comes straight out of the Constitution, and allowing the president to alter that document unilaterally would be a serious assault on democracy.

The 14th Amendment states that, “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.”

There’s some room for debate about whether or not that applies to people living illegally in the United States. But presuming that the rest of the Constitution applies to all people on U.S. soil — legally present or not, citizen or foreigner — it’s clear enough that birthright citizenship would as well.

Graham is on firmer legal ground than Trump by calling for legislation, presumably to amend the Constitution. But unless Republicans pick up significantly larger majorities in both the House and Senate next Tuesday, getting two-thirds of both chambers to vote for an end to birthright citizenship seems exceedingly unlikely.

That’s probably for the best. On the whole, birthright citizenship is a boon for the United States rather than a burden. We need young Americans to grow up into our future leaders, to drive economic growth, to invent and create and innovate.

It’s perfectly reasonable to be wary of pregnant women traveling to the United States just to have a baby here, but there are less draconian ways to prevent that, like tightening border security.

It’s also true that illegal immigrants commonly have children who are granted U.S. citizenship. Over the past several years, anywhere between 5 and 10 percent of all births in the United States have been to undocumented parents, according to the Pew Research Center.

But denying citizenship to those children probably wouldn’t encourage their parents to leave. Instead, it would create a permanent underclass of effectively nation-less people who grow up in the United States but face higher barriers to living a productive, prosperous life — all through no fault of their own.

Generally, the goal of immigration reform is to bring illegal immigrants out of the shadows and put them on a path toward legality, not to drive them further underground.

Illegal immigrant families do impose costs on taxpayers, particularly when their kids are citizens who are eligible for a broader range of social and safety net programs. But they also put billions of dollars into the economy each year, providing a significant net benefit by most measures.

Sen. Graham and President Trump are right that the United States desperately needs to reform its immigration laws and border security policies to protect national security and a lawful society. There is no question about that. But undoing birthright citizenship could actually undermine those efforts.

Besides, most meaningful immigration reforms wouldn’t require changing the Constitution. We’d be much better off starting with those.

Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


January 22, 2019

The day to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s life seems an appropriate moment to update the progress observed along the long road to racial equality while recognizing acts of courage seen in the spirit of King’s life. One such example came just last week on the campus of UNC-Chapel…

Confederate Monument-Protest

January 22, 2019

North Carolina’s highest court will soon decide whether defendants who believe they were wrongfully convicted have the right to complain to the jurors who sat in judgment.

A three-judge N.C. Court of Appeals panel upheld the state’s problematically vague juror harassment law in a 2-1…


January 18, 2019

For lawmakers looking for a way to end the longest government shutdown in history, we have a suggestion. Google the 13th Amendment and read what it says. It’s just one sentence.

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have…


January 18, 2019

What is among the most nagging, gear-grinding frustrations generated by the Great Government Shutdown is that the folks in Washington will do nothing about it except whine.

The shutdown will enter its 28th day today. Apparently, the impasse is over funding to build for a wall between Mexico and the…

Government Shutdown-3

January 17, 2019

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt has displayed patience and grace in navigating the various pressures from the UNC System Board of Governors and the leadership of the General Assembly. It has been particularly evident in addressing the controversy over the fate of the “Silent Sam”…

Confederate Monuments North Carolina

January 16, 2019

Two weeks into this new session of Congress and we’re no closer to knowing who will represent North Carolina’s 9th District in the House of Representatives. Nor do we know who will make the final call on how the seat will be filled or who will fill it. Will it be the state’s board…

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January 14, 2019

Since 1990, lions, tigers and other big cats have killed 24 people ... in the United States.

The latest fatality occurred one week ago near Burlington, when a captive lion attacked and killed an intern at a wildlife center.

Alexandra Black, 22, who had been on the job for only two weeks, was…

Lion Attack-1

January 13, 2019

How fitting is it that President Trump’s first Oval Office address was aimed at stirring up the American public about a crisis largely of his own making?

Pursuing poorly thought-out and even more poorly executed policies on the pretext of battling a nonexistent national security crisis, Trump…

Government Shutdown Trump

January 12, 2019

A federal court ruling in Iowa could signal the unraveling of North Caroina’s harsh, punitive and shortsighted anti-whistleblower law.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa on Wednesday struck down that state’s ag-gag law because if violated the First Amendment. The…

January 11, 2019

When North Carolina’s Republican legislative leaders have seen their work struck down in court as unconstitutional — as they have many times — they have frequently responded by attacking the judge or judges as partisan hacks.

That approach won’t work if the conservative-…

Supreme Court Kavanaugh
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