California’s racists are at it again

Let me say first that I don’t use the word “racist” lightly.  I know it comes as a politically-loaded bomb, something deployed to most often end debate rather than encourage one, but there really is no other way to see this.

A group of California “fiscal conservatives” are working to get a proposition on the June 2010 ballot which would essentially deny citizenship rights and benefits to the children of “illegal” immigrants.  The effort is meant to end what supporters call “birth tourism” and, in so doing, save the state a “billions” of dollars.

Named the Taxpayer Protection Act,” the effort is nothing more than an attempt to deal with a real problem (immigration policy) by rationalizing it as something pretend (“birth tourism”).

I suspect there are people who believe the immigrant flow of the past 40 years has been largely (or even substantially, minimally, or otherwise) motivated by the desire to birth children in the U.S.  These people are wrong.  There is no research to prove it or even suggest it.  There is ample research to suggest otherwise.  Simply put, immigration is an economic phenomenon taking place in a political context.  The most common motivation is the continuation of life.

I suspect there are people who believe this will save the state money.  It won’t.  While they are right in that there is not a lot of clarification at the federal level about “automatic citizenship,” that is only because there has never been any confusion about it in the modern era.  Furthermore, it’s a clear violation of what a state can do regarding a federal question (citizenship).  Anyone who wants to know what the courts thought about that can read the decisions related to Prop. 187.  And that’s the rub.  This will end up costing the state massive amounts of money and human time to adjudicate what we already know: it is illegal.

I also suspect there are people who don’t think this is racist.  These people might not know about the long, historical pattern to criminalizing “brown” and “yellow” immigrants over white ones.  They might not know of the equally long practie of fearing the womb of women of color.  Both of these ideological histories translated into real and horrific experiences for people (mass deportations, death, forced sterilizations, etc.).  Certainly, these people don’t know how their current diatribes are reflective of almost every facet of these histories, but they are.

This is a racist, illegal waste of time and money for the State of California.  And you know what?  I am also sure that some of the supporters know this.  But they also know that fear and hate-mongering in this state can be effective.  They also know (as the chronic Republican minority) that when those practices are unleashed on voter-initiated propositions the state has a tendency to swing the right in the governorship.  And, finally, they know that even if this proposition fails, or passes but is thrown out by the courts, or doesn’t result in a Republican governor (or competitive nominee), THEY still may be successful.  Racism, fear, and hate help mobilize people’s worst and saddest tendencies and, as the poster children for this fight, the authors and political supporters will look like people who actually care.

They don’t care about people.  They don’t care about Constitutional laws.  They do care about power.

For more information on the measure, see this article from the Modesto Bee.

8 thoughts on “California’s racists are at it again

  1. I’m rather in favor of the idea of such a proposition. While I can’t speak for what is happening in California, I have personal empirical data showing that “birth tourism” does happen in Florida. Since I doubt that the involved are that different from one another, I must assume that it is happening in California as well.

    Additionally, they’re right; the federal government has never passed laws addressing this situation, which has resulted in the political weapon called “anchor babies,” which proponents of “open borders” use to fight against reasonable security measures. A proposition like this could spark actual federal legislation and clarify the issue – though possibly not in the way that these people desire.

    But you’re Latino. Of course your own bias is going cause you to feel this is racist. That’s understandably. There has been a history of vilifying non-White immigrants, so it’s understandable that you’d view everything in the light of your own angst and bitterness over feeling of being oppressed.

  2. Profe: Oh, don’t worry, society fears a white womb too. Them wombs — really scary, man!

    Jonolan: I love the way that you construct experience as a disqualifying factor. You can’t believe that reporter — she was actually there when it happened! Only people with no experience or knowledge are reliable, clearly.

  3. Yes, I am Latino, and that has played a role in shaping my experience in life, and that does certainly affect how I make sense of the world. But so does the fact that I am a male, a member of Generation X, and a PhD in US History who both teaches and writes about these topics. Your choice of identity marker to isolate says more about your own view than mine.

    I could easily use your reasoning to explain your inability to see this as racist as a product of your whiteness. The fact you acknowledge “a history of vilifying non-White immigrants” and are unable (or unwilling) to view that history in a context of interconnection is almost proof of the fact.

    Now, hypothetically, let’s say I want to stop the sale of hot dogs in the United States. I know–I have “personal empirical data”–that there are people eating hot dogs as part of professional eating competitions. But that isn’t even a blip in the set of forces driving hot dogs sales in this country. You understand the difference, right? It’s the difference between something somebody (or even a large group of people) might do with an item versus a huge market phenomenon related to the item. Immigration is the same way. “Birth tourism” is not a force propelling immigration, even if you know a person who came here to give birth.

    Finally, this is not a gray area in federal law. The principle has been upheld by the courts in the modern era and the overwhelming acceptance of the fact of citizenship as a right of birth is both legally and culturally established. The lack of many or multiple statutes related to an issue is not the same as legal uncertainty.

    Someone as yourself, who advocates people to be “hanged by the neck until dead and dump in a landfill without benefit of ceremony or shriving” when they hold differing opinions on culture is–like the supporters of this proposition–killing the thing they pretend motivates their actions (the nation). But, in your/their defense, you protect that which is really your concern–an all white nation who interprets all Constitutional matters in exactly the same way. It’s a racially-based facist state pretending to be a Republican Democracy since everybody has the right to choose to adhere to your narrow vision or not. There are lots of word for what that is. Racist is but one.

  4. You sir are so wrong. I live in Arizona and see this going on every day. They have there children here in the hope they won’t be deported. It all wouldn’t be so bad if they would at least show a glimmer of respect for the US by learning English. The illegal’s have destroyed our wage base here providing slave labor doing jobs Americans would normally do, but at wages that can only be called slave labor. They also commit the majority of the crime here including murders and cop killing. There big accomplishment to add to our society is gang membership and drug smuggling, so once again, why do we want them here so badly.
    Just because people disagree with you does not make them racist any more than being a democrat means you’re a communist.
    So, sir, get beyond your gated community in the wealthy district of California and go live in the little Mexico communities in California. It won’t be hard to find one of these areas.
    One other thing, using the race card is only done by Racist people.
    Here’s an idea for you;
    Let’s send all illegal’s to New York, NY, Washington DC , California and Illinois with the promises of amnesty since our gov representatives in those states want them so badly and we will see if you change your tune.

  5. @Lynn I’m in California and we don’t want them either.

    @prof Why is this “Racist”? What about all the white illegals? Is this the only card the Mexican’s can play the racist card? Yes, because they know they are hear illegally. Come here legally, that’s all we ask. And Lynn has another good point, I can’t say for Arizona, but the top 10 most wanted in California were all Hispanic involving Murder/Rape/Kidnapping/Torture.

  6. I like to think that it is like the civil rights movement all over again. We are separated by race and money instead of restaurants and schools. Most people do not come to the states to have children and give them birth rights. They come here to make a better life for themselves and their children. For some, the birth rights they have, they do not appreciate!

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