May Day 2011 - Atlanta, GA
Today has been quite eventful. The vigil looks quite lovely and I can’t help but believe in the future of the DREAM Act.
I am amazed by the courage of Viridiana Berenice Martinez, Dayanna Rebolledo, Maria Marroquin, Georgina Perez, Jose Rico Benavides, Andrea Rosales & David Ramirez who were arrested in their fight for access to higher education for undocumented youth in Georgia!!!! May God be with you all.
Until the 1960s, it was common to see signs in Texas that read: “No Dogs, Negros or Mexicans.” Civil rights legislation put an end to such signs. In the current post-civil rights era, it is no longer legally or morally permissible to express overt discrimination towards Mexicans or any other racial or ethnic group.
(Image Source: Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia)
In today’s political context, however, it is acceptable to insist that undocumented migrants – and even their U.S. born children – should not be allowed in this country. In July 2010, Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) proposed a bill that would end the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship for everyone born in the United States. As of today, 130 Senators have indicated they support this bill.
Since the inception of the United States, jus soli – the idea that citizenship is determined by birthplace – has prevailed as the law of the land. The only exceptions to birthright citizenship have been racial. The first piece of U.S. legislation regarding who could be a citizen was passed in 1790, granting citizenship to all whites born in the United States. It was not until the 14th Amendment was passed in 1868 that blacks were granted citizenship. The 14th Amendment reads:
“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.”
The 14th Amendment granted birthright citizenship to blacks and whites born in the United States. However, the Supreme Court had to clarify in United States v. Wong Kim Ark in 1898 that all native-born children of aliens – including the Chinese – were indeed citizens of the United States.