Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lindsey Graham caves to the tea partiers on immigration

As I wrote here, back in the spring of this year, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham was outed as gay by the tea-partiers for what they regarded as his liberalism on the subject of immigration. Several prominent conservatives have criticized him for this political position; Rush Limbaugh has been calling him Grahamnesty, etc.

Well, looks like he finally made his choice. I guess it's getting ugly, and he wants them off his back.

Graham has basically reversed himself. He is now out-flanking several other conservatives on the right, stating that the children of undocumented immigrants in the USA, should be made "illegal" also.

This is a pretty radical-right position. I am disappointed.

Graham exploring options for citizenship
By Clark Brooks
Greenville News
Posted: Sunday, Aug. 01, 2010

GREENVILLE, S.C. - With a mess as big as immigration, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham will sometimes take a blank sheet of paper and begin from scratch.

“We’re starting a new country here,” he said. “We’re looking at old problems completely anew. What changes would you make?”

Graham, a Republican from Seneca, has mentally penciled in birthright citizenship. It made perfect sense when the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868, but now it’s contributing mightily to the nation’s immigration problem, he said.

“The purpose of the 14th Amendment in this area was to take citizenship determinations away from the states,” he said. “The fear was that the Southern states after the Civil War would deny citizenship to freed slaves so the constitutional amendment basically nationalized how you become a citizen.”

But today, it’s being used in ways that cheapen citizenship and reward unlawful behavior, Graham said.

Challenges to the 14th Amendment aren’t rare. They include the proposed Birthright Citizenship Act of 2009, co-sponsored by Republican Rep. Dan Lungren of California, which seeks to deny citizenship to children born to illegal immigrants.

When Graham said last week in an interview on Fox News that he might introduce an amendment to address birthright citizenship, it brought a barrage of criticism from supporters and detractors alike who interpreted it as a reversal of his stated positions on immigration reform.

Graham said that anything he might propose regarding birthright citizenship would be applied in the future as part of a fix for a huge immigration problem. Regardless of what other changes are made, he said, as long as thousands of people are still coming to America to have babies, the immigration system is broken.

“All I can tell you is that emotional arguments and criticism don’t go too far with me,” he said. “So just tell me where I’m wrong intellectually. I mean, most Americans believe that rewarding citizenship the way we’re doing it makes no sense.”

Graham is exploring options. If birthright citizenship cannot be changed with legislation, he said, he might introduce a constitutional amendment.

But he said nothing about his position on immigration has changed. He still wants to first secure the borders and then take on the tough issues along the path to reform, he said, beginning with how to deal with the 12 million illegal immigrants in the country now and make sure they aren’t replaced by another 12 million in 20 years.

U.S. authorities aren’t going to jail or deport 12 million people, he said, and there is a practical approach to that part of the problem.

“I’m willing to get them right with the law, let them stay here on our terms, learn English, get a job, pay a fine and if you want to be a citizen, get in the back of the line and apply lawfully,” Graham said.

Then, employment laws must be changed, he said, because most illegal immigrants enter the country to work.

If they are here legally, contributing to the country, their children should be U.S. citizens, Graham said. What he wants to prevent is wealthy people crossing the oceans on tourist visas for birthright citizenship, and others with the same goal entering by land.
Do you think this policy-reversal has anything to do with being gay-baited by the tea party?


This whole situation is Exhibit A for why the closet is bad. The closet has POWER OVER PEOPLE, while coming out of the closet means that power is therefore neutralized and ineffective.

Graham has given the tea-partiers the power, and by giving into them, makes them all the more powerful.


Skinner said...

I've always felt sympathy for Graham's awkward position - increasingly less so however.

Sevesteen said...

I refuse to call illegal immigrants undocumented--they are here illegally. We need to enforce the current laws until they are changed, we should make it harder for illegals to remain in the US, and harder for employers to hire them.

However, the notion that anchor babies are a huge problem, and the best solution is to amend the constitution is absurd. If it is actually a significant problem, the easiest solution would be to remove any special privileges given to the family of a child citizen--they can remain with their parents, or stay with legal US residents. When they become adults, they can then claim their citizenship. Amending the constitution to 'fix' this is swatting flies with an ax in a warehouse full of flyswatters.

(please note that I think we need to make it drastically easier for anyone who is law abiding and can support themselves to come here legally)

thene said...

Sevesteen - as a documented immigrant, I refuse to call undocumented immigrants 'illegal'. The only difference between me and them is that I was able to pay a shittone of money to the US government for the privilege of legality.

DaisyDeadhead said...

I said all I am going to say about illegal immigration in the thread about the bust at Columbia Farms (read endless brawling in comments). I think everything was duly covered there... no reason to repeat the same argument here.

Sevesteen said...

I did not mean for my comment to be about my views of immigration, but rather that even to someone with my views, trying to bypass or change the 14th amendment to fix this is absurd.

I would guess that we are not too far apart on what the law should be. But allowing selective enforcement of law gives those in authority more power and opportunity for corruption, and that is worse than current immigration as applied to Hispanics. Rule of law coupled with a democratic process to change bad law is critical.

thene said...

Daisy - I love how the Constitution ceases to be a sacred cow as soon as the right find something totally unambiguous in it that they don't like any more. If the left spoke of amending the Constitution to speak to a current policy issue, hooo boy.

Something that caught my eye about Graham recently - he was the only Republican who broke ranks to support Kagan's SCOTUS nomination in committee. I was given to wonder if that was a tiny nod of solidarity with a fellow queer - who knows?

DaisyDeadhead said...

Thene, did you see em chatting? (he was supposed to be *grilling* her--ha!) It was almost flirtatious. I have no doubt that was the reason for his approval of Kagan.

Mary said...

There's one teensy little problem with going after the 14th Amendment, and I'm surprised no one has noticed it. An awful lot of white Am'urkans wouldn't be able to vote anymore.
If great-great-great-grandpappy fought in the Civil War, for example, the descendants would legally be squatters in the U.S, because he committed treason and forfeited his citizenship.
Then again, most of the tea party is very dim, so they probably wouldn't make the connection. I wish the lot of 'em could be shipped to Antartica.