Our VoiceImmigration

Attacks on 14th Amendment are attacks on immigrant women


Guest Blogger • Jan 27, 2011

by Susana Sanchez

Lawmakers are wrong to try to dismantle the 14th Amendment. This effort is an attack on Latinas, and on the reproductive rights of Latina immigrants.

Lawmakers from 14 states—including Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah — are working together to pass legislation to deny citizenship to children born here in the United States if their parents are undocumented immigrants. These politicians argue that the automatic right of birth citizenship, guaranteed by our Constitution, encourages undocumented pregnant women to cross the border and have their babies here so their kids can claim citizenship.

First of all, there is scant evidence that immigrant women are actually doing this.

Second, undocumented immigrants do not come to this country to produce U.S. citizens; they come searching for better opportunities.

Third, this kind of restriction has never been imposed on pregnant women who came predominantly from Europe, even though they weren’t in the United States with proper documentation.

This is a thinly veiled attack on immigrant Latina women and on their right to reproduce.

Most undocumented immigrants come from Latin America, which means that this bill affects mostly undocumented Latinas. More than 70% of U.S. immigrants currently come from Latin America. Removing birthright citizenship is an attempt to control Latinas’ reproduction.

Proponents of this bill have a clear agenda, and they are not working alone. They are working with the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

FAIR is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In addition, FAIR received funding from the Pioneer Fund, which “promotes the racial stock of the original colonists, finance studies of race and intelligence, and foster policies of ‘racial betterment.”

John Tanton, FAIR’s founder, once wrote, “Will the present majority peaceably hand over its political power to a group that is simply more fertile[…]As whites see their power and control over their lives declining, will they simply go quietly into the night?”

FAIR was also involved in crafting Arizona’s controversial law, SB 1070.

All Americans of goodwill should resist this assault on one of our Constitutional rights and this attempt to scapegoat Latinas.

We’re a better country than that.

About the author: Susana Sanchez is an international student from Costa Rica who works with Hampshire College’s Population and Development Program as a Research Assistant.
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