The statements we liberals can’t hear: Your Daily Howler just keeps banging out those results!
Last night, the PBS NewsHour skipped the pork chops and served a bit of chopped beef. We refer to its middling discussion of “birthright citizenship,” termination of which is one part of Candidate Trump’s immigration plan.
In our view, the discussion wasn’t entirely great. We were somewhat puzzled by this Q-and-A:
IFILL (8/20/15): Professor Sherry, is this a uniquely American idea, that if you’re born here, you’re a citizen here?It’s almost uniquely American (presumably meaning ours)? That may be true among “developed countries.” But according to the world’s leading authority, unconditional birthright citizenship is the norm all through the Americas.
SHERRY: It’s almost uniquely American. The only other developed country that has birthright citizenship is Canada.
There are a number of South American countries that have it as well. It’s—but no place in Western Europe, no place in Asia, not Australia. A number of European countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand, had birthright citizenship, and they repealed it. I don’t believe it was constitutional in those cases. But they repealed birthright citizenship over the last 20 or 30 years.
[Note: We’ve corrected two errors in the PBS transcript. Sherry’s statement now makes basic sense.]
We also note that Ifill didn’t ask why a bunch of developed nations have been “repealing birthright citizenship over the last 20 or 30 years.” Perhaps the answer would have been upsetting to PBS viewers!
Because of its constitutional grounding, there seems to be little chance that birthright citizenship will be repealed in the U.S. Needless to say, Ifill spent some time teaching us viewers which words and phrases we mustn’t use in discussing this general topic. She discussed the term “anchor babies” and even took a swipe at “self-deportation.”
In such ways, Candidate Trump keeps gaining votes! Let’s note several points:
Late in her segment, Ifill discussed the alleged problem with birthright citizenship. She spoke with USA Today’s Steve Gomez, who described several different types of situation:
IFILL: And on this idea of anchor babies, is it—is there any evidence to support the notion that this is a widespread idea that women come here to have babies and gain citizenship for them? Is there any number—are there any numbers to back that up?Depending on your point of view, Gomez may have described a problem.
GOMEZ: I mean, it’s always hard to quantify intentions. But, yes, I can tell you, just in the reporting that I and some of my colleagues have done over the years on this issue, that there is absolutely an industry of people who come here or send people to this country for the purpose of giving birth.
In China, for example, travel agencies advertise that you can come over here. They teach you and coach you on how to speak to the customs and border agent as you’re coming in so that you can get in, have your baby, get the citizenship and head on back.
And unquestionably, there are some undocumented immigrants from Central and South America who have done the same thing when they cross over. But in terms of the numbers, the last time I saw anybody even try to take a look at that was the Pew Research Center a few years ago. And they found that well over 90 percent of the people who gave—of the undocumented immigrants who gave birth in the United States had arrived in the United States at least two years prior.
So in other words, they had come here and they were not pregnant while they were doing so.
In our view, upper-income “birth tourism” is an obvious abuse of a system which was designed for other reasons. In our view, the situation is different in the case of lower-income people who come to this country to work, especially since their presence here has been encouraged by ruling elites for decades.
That said, sensible people will react to this situation in different ways. Here are some basic numbers from a Pew report:
PASSEL AND TAYLOR (8/11/10): An estimated 340,000 of the 4.3 million babies born in the United States in 2008 were the offspring of unauthorized immigrants, according to a new analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.Those aren’t the so-called “anchor babies” about whom Ifill inquired. But large numbers are recorded there. Those numbers don’t seem like a problem to us, but sensible people could differ.
Unauthorized immigrants comprise slightly more than 4% of the adult population of the U.S., but because they are relatively young and have high birthrates, their children make up a much larger share of both the newborn population (8%) and the child population (7% of those younger than age 18) in this country.
Can sensible liberals tolerate such reactions? As our news orgs become more propagandistic, we liberals are increasingly being trained to offer tribal reactions. With that in mind, we were struck by how much of this week’s discussion concerned the correct language to use when discussing this general topic.
Aside from the actual facts of the case, is “anchor babies” an offensive term? In some settings, it may be hard to avoid. Last night, Ifill used the term in the question above, even after she had been told that it can be seen as a slur! On MSNBC, Candidate Bush was getting slimed, rather dishonestly, for having done something similar.
Below, you see an earlier Q-and-A from the NewsHour. Note: In the course of asking her question, we’d have to say that Ifill basically misstated Bush’s position:
IFILL: Alan, we know, of course, that not all of the Republican candidates are in favor of revoking birthright citizenship. In fact, we heard Jeb Bush today talk about it and say he didn’t necessarily think it was a great idea.There’s a lot of strangeness in both parts of that Q-and-A, strangeness which reflects our growing tribalization.
But he also used that term “anchor babies.” Tell me about the political genesis of that term and why it seems to stir up such dust.
GOMEZ: I mean, it’s perceived as such a slur to a lot undocumented immigrants, a lot of Hispanics, a lot of immigrants generally who are at least within that first or second wave of immigration.
This goes back for quite some time. I remember Steve King from Iowa, one of the biggest immigration hard-liners we have seen in a long time, and, much like Trump, a bit bombastic in the way he approaches things, using that term quite a bit just a few years ago. And that is when it kind of gained steam, as best as I can remember.
And so it really sort of kind of speaks to this idea. They had Jeb Bush talking about needing to improve the tone with the Hispanic community in this country, calling on his other Republican candidates to improve the tone, yet he would not back away from using the term “anchor babies.”
And it’s—I think it’s also important to understand that, while Bush was saying that he didn’t believe that we need to change birthright citizenship, he wants to enforce it to try to prevent pregnant parents, pregnant mothers from coming into the country specifically for the purpose of giving birth.
Marco Rubio, a Florida senator, has also endorsed that approach. So even though everybody is not on board with birthright citizenship, we’re seeing a lot of folks who are trying to get at it in different ways.
Did Candidate Bush fail to “back away from using the term ‘anchor babies?’” So did Broadcaster Ifill! Even after this Q-and-A, she went on to use the term in a later question, the question we’ve posted above.
Meanwhile, we liberals were propagandized hard by Maddow and Hayes last night. They complained about Bush’s use of the “deeply offensive” term, but kept us from learning his stance on the issue—full birthright citizenship all the way.
Rachel and Chris disappeared that part of Bush’s taped remarks, much as Jaime Fuller had disappeared Candidate Clinton’s avowal of innocence in the email matter. When Lawrence played the tape at 10, he left Bush’s statement in.
(Bush: “You want to get to the policy for a second? I think that people born in this country ought to be American citizens. OK, now we got that over with.” Lawrence left those statements in when he played the tape of Bush’s remarks. Maddow and Hayes edited those statements out. Increasingly, we’re being propagandized in such ways.)
In our view, Maddow has become especially heinous. But our culture is crawling with horrid corporate “journalists” of various tribal stripes.
We expect to discuss this growing breakdown next week. But in our view, Maddow now seems to have been almost wholly destroyed by all the wealth and fame.
Increasingly, we liberal viewers now serve as her toys. But as you know, wealth and fame can be extremely destructive.