“This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.” – T. S. Eliot
The Donald Trump immigration plan has accomplished exactly what it was intended to accomplish: it has presidential candidates debating the specific policy of birthright citizenship.
As I hoped it would, Trump’s plan has sent shockwaves through the Republican Party, forcing the other presidential candidates to respond—either in agreement, or in disagreement. Or in the case of Marco Rubio, neither.
During an interview with John Harwood of CNBC, Rubio was asked about illegal immigrants, and specifically about the term “anchor babies.” He responded:
“Those are human beings and ultimately they are people, we’re not just statistics, they’re humans with stories.”
Translation: “I’m a ‘compassionate conservative,’ and anyone who supports ending birthright citizenship doesn’t see illegal immigrants as human.” Harwood then asked Rubio a ludicrous question:
“Is not birthright citizenship one of the things that makes America exceptional?”
“Yes. And that’s why I’m not in favor of repealing the 14th Amendment.”
First, how is birthright citizenship part of what makes America exceptional? I thought American exceptionalism was based on the notion that the United States is a democratic republic like no other, with a constitution that guarantees more personal freedom than any other nation in history.
The fact that the the first section of article one of the 14th Amendment is believed by some to grant birthright citizenship to illegal immigrants doesn’t really factor into the idea of what separates the United States from peer nations.
Second, the words “repeal the 14th Amendment” keep getting bandied about. As I wrote in great detail yesterday, article one of the 14th Amendment was clearly intended to give citizenship to freed slaves. There is much more ground covered in the 14th Amendment aside from citizenship for freed slaves. Given that, continuing to say that Trump and other conservatives want to “repeal the 14th Amendment” is an appeal to fear, and a straw man. It’s simply untrue. Those who want to end birthright citizenship merely want the 14th Amendment to be properly interpreted so that we can put an end to the crisis of anchor babies.
But that’s not what the media and the anti-Trump bots want you to believe. They want Americans to see Trump and those who want to end the disastrous policy of birthright citizenship as radicals who want to take a knife to the Constitution. Wow, those candidates are outside the mainstream! They want to gut the Constitution! That’s the aim of the “repeal the 14th Amendment” phraseology.
Unfortunately, Rubio has taken the bait. What’s worse, Rubio seems to have no position at all.
Later, during his interview, Rubio said:
“But what’s the flip-side of that argument? There’s a legitimate issue embedded within this debate, and that is, you have people coming to this country expressly for the purpose of having children.”
On one hand, you have Rubio saying that birthright citizenship is what makes us exceptional, and on the other, he admits there’s a serious problem with…birthright citizenship.
Rubio, one of the infamous Gang of Eight who authored the “comprehensive” immigration bill (amnesty), has squirmed his way through the immigration debate ever since the bill died in the Senate. No one really knows what Rubio wants to do regarding illegal immigration. He’s held so many contrasting positions that many people are unwilling to trust what he says when it comes to this issue.
With this interview, I’m even more confused and concerned with where Rubio stands. This is the reason Rubio is where he is in the polls, and Trump is where he is. Rubio is acting as the ineffectual politician, who minces words and shifts policy positions, slithering from issue to issue. Americans are over it, and that’s being reflected in the polls.
I have some advice for Marco Rubio—because I do believe he has the capacity to lead. Stand on your feet, and stay there.