Monday, March 26, 2012

The power of paranoia

In this country we live in, we sometimes forget that we are, by and large, a nation of immigrants.  Very few of us can claim "we were here first", and everyone else is a late-coming outsider.

The vast majority of U.S. citizens can trace their family lines to another place and time.

And yet, we forget this.

We want to close borders and build walls and legislate who can and cannot enter.  There is a paranoia that comes from talk about immigration, as though it is now something to be threatened by.

People discuss illegal immigration as though legal immigration is a simple and easy process to go through for anyone that has the motivation for it.

Legal immigration is a far cry from being simple and easy.

The only guaranteed way for anyone to be automatically granted citizenship without question is to be born here.

Even that is under fire these days, a target of those who wish to refuse citizenship to the children born to women who enter this country illegally.  The so-called anchor baby movement.

I fear that the day will come when birth alone will no longer confer an automatic right to citizenship.

In some ways, it already has.

One of the caveats of the citizenship birthright is that babies born to U.S. citizens who are out of the country at the time of birth have always automatically been deemed citizens as well, simply by virtue of their parentage.  The loophole began to ensure that military families, stationed overseas, wouldn't have to worry about the citizenship of their children if born abroad.

It's a loophole that has been used by thousands, maybe even millions, of families since it's adoption, military and civilian.

That loophole is being tested.
There is at least one family who has been told that their children will not be granted automatic citizenship because the parents cannot prove the egg and sperm donors were U.S. citizens.  The babies, born in Israel to American parents who conceived through a fertility clinic, have been told they carry the burden of proof.

Women who live in the United States are not asked how they conceived prior to their children being granted automatic citizenship.  Why are women outside asked this question?  Why it is a permissible question to ask?

Why does the genetic makeup of the embryo matter, if it is carried and delivered by a U.S. citizen?

Children adopted overseas by U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for citizenship, and children born here to non-citizens are granted it automatically.  Neither has to prove a genetic right to that claim.  Only children conceived through fertility clinics and born abroad do.

The explanation given by the State Department is that they must be vigilant to protect against abuse of the right to citizenship.

Maybe it's just me, but since when did newborns born to U.S. citizens pose a threat to national security?

The paranoia has gone too far.

What exactly are we afraid of?

3 comments:

  1. OMG, I read that article yesterday! Crazy...I mean just asking her if those are "her kids" I would get so upset after having Charlotte and strangers would ask me, "Where I got her", "Where did she come from"..."What is she?" She now looks like me, but she was so dark skinned and dark haired and her eyes were almond shaped like her daddy...that people didn't believe she was "Mine"....I answered, in order from the questions above. 1. My Vagina. 2. My Vagina. 3. Human, what are you?

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  2. Kelly: Thanks for addressing this issue. It has bothered me greatly since I found out about this woman in Israel. It makes no sense to me - the child is a US citizen - no questions should be asked.

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  3. Shocked! I had no idea. Thanks for the enlightenment.

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