Constitutional Libertarianism

Constitutional Libertarianism

Friday, January 14, 2011

Citizenship and the 14th Amendment, Cut and Dried

I came across an article that I think breaks down the 14th Amendment very clearly and brings some well done research to the table regarding citizenship of people born to citizens of foreign countries.

Hans A. von Spakovsky wrote on FOX new online (No,  I am not an adamant fan of FOX news, but they are one of many news sources I browse through to pull together many sides of the same story.   I call it seeking corroboration and it's something everyone should look for instead of taking one reporter or politician or scientists version un-questioned.) that discusses the history and specific wording of the 14th Amendment.  

In part, he has this to say...

The 14th Amendment doesn’t say that all persons born in the U.S. are citizens. It says that “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” are citizens. That second, critical, conditional phrase is conveniently ignored or misinterpreted by advocates of “birthright” citizenship. 
Critics erroneously believe that anyone present in the United States has “subjected” himself “to the jurisdiction” of the United States, which would extend citizenship to the children of tourists, diplomats, and illegal aliens alike.
But that is not what that qualifying phrase means. Its original meaning refers to the political allegiance of an individual and the jurisdiction that a foreign government has over that individual. The fact that a tourist or illegal alien is subject to our laws and our courts if they violate our laws does not place them within the political “jurisdiction” of the United States as that phrase was defined by the framers of the 14th Amendment.
This amendment’s language was derived from the 1866 Civil Rights Act, which provided that “[a]ll persons born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power” would be considered citizens. Sen. Lyman Trumbull, a key figure in the adoption of the 14th Amendment, said that “subject to the jurisdiction” of the U.S. included not owing allegiance to any other country. 

 We have many people these days crying that enforcing the 14th Amendment is an act of racism.  That trying to prevent the children born inside the U.S. political and geographical borders of foreign parents is racism.

Sorry, couldn't be further from the truth.  What's really going on is how people want to play with the definition of the word "jurisdiction".

The people who oppose the 14th are those who want to only define jurisdiction similar to the notion of "when in Rome, do as Romans do", meaning that when you are in a given country, you are expected to abide by their laws while you are there.

That is a "local" interpretation or definition of jurisdiction.  However, in the context of what is actually written in the 14th Amendment, "jurisdiction" is the citizenship and national allegiance to which the individual is bound by.

In the case of the U.S., "automatic citizenship" is extended only to the children of natural-born citizens and those naturalized to this country.

Basically, when someone from another country crosses into the U.S. without obtaining prior permission, they are trespassing on a federal level.

Any child born to it's parents, regardless of geographical or political location, are subject to the same allegiances and national jurisdiction as that child's parents.

Think of it this way, if someone visiting the U.S. from another country on a travel or work VISA stayed too long and their child was born inside the U.S. and the federal gov't told the parents they had to go but the child had to stay because it was a citizen of the U.S. now and as such had to stay here, those parents would claim the U.S. was kidnapping their child, especially if those parents had the intention of returning to their own country from the beginning.

No, if someone from Mexico or Germany or Africa or wherever comes to the U.S. without legal prior permission, their child born in the U.S. is NOT automatically a U.S. citizen according to the 14th Amendment.

Think about it.  That would be like saying if some strangers broke into your house, or were lost and stumbled into your backyard and they had their kid there, that kid would be a resident of your house.  Ridiculous, isn't it?

I can see how selective enforcement of the 14th Amendment could be seen as racist.  If say, anyone from a European country, even if illegal had a kid that was allowed to be a citizen automatically but when people from say, Turkey, had a kid in the U.S., it was denied without even thinking about it.  That could be grounds for racism.  And that is the problem the U.S. gov't has created for itself.  It wants to be picky about who it allows to sidestep the law for and who it wants to uphold the law for.

Bringing it down to the plain and simple, the U.S. Constitution.

If you are a citizen, natural born or naturalized, your children are automatically citizens as well.

If you are not a citizen of the U.S., then neither you or your children who are born here are automatically U.S. citizens.  You "belong" to the country of legal citizenship of the parents from which they came.

If you came here without legal prior permission, you are guilty of trespassing on a national level.  That is considered a crime and will get you sent back to where you came from.  End of story.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

On Ownership

Now, this topic isn't so much on constitutional issues as much as it it is on general principles.

Very often, the discussion of capitalism vs social or communism rears it's head.  One of the most fundamental arguments in this discussion is ownership.

Those who criticize capitalism say that no one person "owns" land.  Land being one of the most basic needs of people to establish security, shelter and resources.

They say that land should belong to the community as a whole.

Of course, the pro-capitalists say that it is the right of the individual to own not only those things they make or buy but the land they build on and use for those things as well.  Everything is for sale, in other words and everything can be bought and owned by an individual.  Up to and including land.

If we accept that humans are primarily social animals or beings, then it's easy to take that a step further and suggest that what is owned by one is owned by all.  Much like the honey bee colony, honey bees being considered a social insect. All labor and fruits of said labor is available to all.  Regardless of quantity or quality of labor invested by the individual.

Of course, this perspective almost completely eliminates recognition of the individual.  Much like the "Borg" from the science fiction television show, "Star Trek".  Taking "All for one and one for all" to it's most extreme.

However, if we look at humans as primarily solitary beings, then what one does or has is entirely their own.  Much like the solitary bees.  Everything they do is for themselves and for perpetuation of their "line".  I have what  I have and you have what you have and let our paths not intertwine.

This is not totally accurate either.  Humans are indeed made to be somewhat social as it requires at least two of us to procreate.  One from each gender.  As a matter of fact, one might infer that starting with the basics of one man  and one woman, a small community is created.  This of course being what we call a family.  As genetics have taught us, brothers and sisters do not make good biological pairings in procreation. 

Therefore, we as people need to have access to other "families" to procreate with without becoming inbred and experiencing genetic failure, eventually leading to offspring that may likely not be able to procreate further down the line, thus eliminating that particular line of people.  This essentially creates communities of interaction so as to have at least minimal access to others for healthy procreation.

What has all of that to do with ownership?  Well, it gives some credibility to the notion that humans are to some degree inherently social beings, as necessitated by biology.

However, this necessary socialization is limited to biology.  An individual can hunt and scavenge to keep them-self alive.  A community is not absolutely required for survival as it is within the bees nest.  Historically speaking, it is the small, family based groupings that tend to be most successful in terms of sharing labor and splitting the rewards more equally and equitably.

Competition for resources is what generally, historically, has produced conflict.  Not only among humans, but among animals as well.  it is not uncommon for one to assess that as an animal, humans are territorial, much like bears, lions, wolves, etc...  They are prone to staking out an geographically defined area as theirs to "work".

It is of particular interest that most other territorial animals are also small social (family) based.

With a limited population to cover a large area, conflict is limited as there are more than enough resources and space for each "family" to lay claim to.  By placing more people on limited resources, conflict is created.  Therin lies are problem.

Territorial animals, when in conflict with another of their kind will often fight and kill each other over said territory and resources.  Humans do this too.

However, humans having supposedly "advanced" capacity for thought and awareness of the world around them are supposedly striving for 'civilization" among themselves.  Essentially, establishing ground rules of expected behavior and conflict resolution that interrupts fighting and killing in preference of intellectual resolution instead.

Said "civilization" only works if everyone involved "buys in" to the ground rules.  This is where the idea of challenging ownership comes in.  Using rules of civilization to determine the ownership or transfer of ownership from one individual or group relative to another.

The social or communal oriented thinker will stand up in the group and say that no one "owns" the land and that it is only "loaned" or recognized as loaned by the community to the individual.

The individualists will argue on the basis of what one does to "work" the land or area.  Even if the land is not permanently able to be "owned" over long periods of time (limited by the lifespan of the individual) the investment of time and labor to produce crops, erect buildings, care for one's belongings and keep one's family within the bounds of the "family territory" and not infringing on others is a valid stake or claim on the land in favor of individual ownership.

Personally, I lean toward the individual owned or claimed territory.  If I and my family do the work and do not infringe on others right to live their lives similarly, the "contract" of ownership is between me and the maker of the land in question.  Be that God or nature.  It is not something bequeathed by people or civilization.

However,  I also think that another law of the wild should be observed which is that one's territory is "owned" only as long as one can protect and "work it".  Limiting how much land one person can own to the amount that one person or family can maintain and protect it will limit greed and corruption. 

Right now, there are people who own much more land than they can actually "work" and protect yet their claims on multiple sections of land keep people who could work and protect them, off of them.  This is an error made by civilization.

If someone has land they own, it is theirs until they die or leave.  In which case, it is passed on to an offspring.  If there is no offspring capable of living on it actively, it should be sold to someone with no other existing land holdings.  That should be the extent of civilization's involvement, in my opinion.

The government, the organized perpetrator of civilization, should not be allowed to force the removal of a person from their land.  As it stands currently, the government can force the liquidation of property, including land, for not paying taxes and other excuses.   I think this is wrong. 

First of all, taxation is something that is supposed to be equitably distributed. We can't say equally because of the noted exceptions for those not having to pay taxes.  However, taxation is supposed to provide for the administration of the government to provide the services they are chartered to provide and nothing more.

Governmental representatives are fulfilling a voluntary and civic duty by running for election.  They do not "need" to be compensated for said service as it usually should be able to be fit into one's daily life.  If it is a task that interrupts one's daily life and their ability to provide normally for themselves, some minimal degree of re-compensation can be provided.  Any direct costs to said duty and tasks of the office elected to are covered by those taxes.

However, taxation has increased by non-necessary governmental spending and as such, has placed too large of a burden on the ability of people to provide for themselves and their family.  Thus leading to governmental forcing of people to sell their land based on non payment of un-necessary taxation.

The government should not be allowed to force the sale of land for payment of taxes.there are many other ways to collect that money without forcing someone to sell their land.  By allowing this, it is implied that the government owns the land and can take possession of it at their whim instead of recognizing that the land is owned only by God or nature.

I believe that land ownership is a god given right as declared in "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".

The first and second article of the Virginia Declaration of Rights adopted unanimously by the Virginia Convention of Delegates on June 12, 1776 and written by George Mason, is:
That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
From the very beginning, the crafters of independence understood what it meant to own land.

In the actual declaration of independence, it was stated a bit differently as:

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
What happened to land and property?  It is commented by some that Franklin, Jefferson and others interpreted property to be a machination of civilization. Therefore subject to taxation.  Taxation.  What was originally meant to be a regard for recognizing the basic needs of people was changed to accommodate taxation.

Now those are only words which provide direction to thought and principle, not actual law.

One of the many games played by politicians over the years since the Constitution was put in place is that by creating amendments to the Constitution, references and laws affecting ownership, taxes and governmental powers are scattered all over and to some extent, buried or "hidden" so that it isn't always easy to decipher relationships and continuity.  That's not an accident.