The Team GOP Conundrum: “Trumping” the Immigration Issue

It’s time to Break It Down!

A funny thing happened as the GOP race for the Presidency got out of the gate. A candidate whom many were not convinced would even run, and whom others figured would bow out quickly, if he did run, and whom others still, presumed would be minimized, if not nullified, by the time the campaign began in earnest, is in fact, leading the race. The Donald, who boldly and frequently proclaims the American Dream is dead, and only he can bring back sexy…I mean the American Dream, has all but made a mockery out of the race to determine the Republican nominee for the White House, in the early going.

He leads his nearest opponent by a nearly 2:1 margin in most polls, more in some. Mr. Trump appears to be single-handedly redefining the playbook for GOPolithink. It was not that long ago, the collective wisdom of the Grand Old Party was, “that Barack Obama guy took us to the woodshed twice by dominating the Hispanic vote. In 2008, Senator Obama garnered 62% of the Hispanic vote. In 2012, the President’s number rose to 71%.

After the November 2012 Presidential Election, the GOP Mantra was, we are going to plan and execute a brand new policy initiative expressly for 2016. We’ll show ‘em.”

Wow, did they ever! On the evening of June 16, 2015, Mr. Trump announced his candidacy for President of the United States in the 2016 election at the Trump Tower in New York City with the slogan “Make America Great Again.

Part of his formula for making America Great Again included plans to complete the Mexican border fence, or wall, as he calls it, and make Mexico pay for it. But he did not stop there. He went on to say:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best…They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with [them]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

In the immediate aftermath of the Trump announcement, a number of entities severed ties with the mogul candidate. Several businesses and organizations – including NBC, Macy’s, Univision, and NASCAR (along with sponsor Camping World) – cut ties with Trump over his comments. The response among his fellow GOP candidates was mixed. Two of them, Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, and former Texas Governor, Rick Perry, quickly squared off against Trump and his stinging remarks. Interestingly, for all practical purposes, they both dropped off the political radar.  A number of other candidates opted to invoke a “see no evil, hear no evil posture.”

Trump, alternately, zoomed to the top of the polls, and has held a commanding lead for the first two months of the campaign. Of course, we are talking about Donald Trump; so naturally, he was not through with the issue. In fact, he has since doubled and tripled, perhaps even quadrupled down on the idea. He has promised to build the biggest most sophisticated and effective wall imaginable. He has referenced the Great Wall of China as just one example of what’s possible. What a novel and potentially historic idea.  I kid!

Most of us know there are 17 candidates that the media and GOP Polling sites consider serious. However, there are more than twice that many declared candidates for the GOP Ticket. Since you have almost surely not seen the list, and will likely never see it again, I thought it would be instructional to share it here. So, for your edification only, here it is. First there is the list, in polling order, based on the first debate. This is the list with which most of us are familiar. The first 10 made it to the Prime Time Main Stage:

  • Donald Trump, 23.2 percent
  • Jeb Bush, 12.8
  • Scott Walker, 10.6
  • Ben Carson, 6.6
  • Mike Huckabee, 6.6
  • Ted Cruz, 6.2
  • Marco Rubio, 5.2
  • Rand Paul, 4.8
  • Chris Christie, 3.4
  • John Kasich,8

The second group includes the 7 candidates who appeared in the Matinee edition of the GOP Debate:

  • Rick Perry, 2.0
  • Rick Santorum, 1.4
  • Bobby Jindal, 1.2
  • Carly Fiorina, 1.0
  • Lindsey Graham, 0.4
  • George Pataki, N/A
  • Jim Gilmore, N/A

And then you have the list of declared candidates in its entirety, in Alpha Order:

 •  Skip Andrews  ◄ DECLARED
 •  George Bailey  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Michael Bickelmeyer  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Kerry Bowers  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Jeb Bush (2)*  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Dr. Ben Carson (4)*  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Eric Cavanagh  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Dale Christensen  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Chris Christie (9)*  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Ted Cruz (6)*  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Brooks Cullison  ◄ DECLARED
 •  John Dummett, Jr.  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Bob Ehrlich
 •  Mark Everson  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Jack Fellure  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Carly Fiorina (14)*  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Jim Gilmore (17)*  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Lindsey Graham (15)*  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Jim Hayden  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Chris Hill  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Mike Huckabee (5)*  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Bobby Jindal (13)*  ◄ DECLARED
 •  John Kasich (10)*  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Bartholomew James Lower  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Andy Martin  ◄ DECLARED
 •  James C. Mitchell, Jr.  ◄ DECLARED
 •  K. Ross Newland  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Esteban Oliverez  ◄ DECLARED
 •  George Pataki (16)*  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Rand Paul (8)*  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Rick Perry (11)*  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Michael Petyo  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Marco Rubio (7)*  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Brian Russell  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Rick Santorum (12)*  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Jefferson Sherman  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Shawna Sterling  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Donald Trump (1)*  ◄ DECLARED
 •  Scott Walker (3)*  ◄ DECLARED

As a frontrunner, one thing about Trump no one can say is, that he has been forced to tone it down, or play it timidly. In fact, some of his best stuff has almost surely not even been uttered yet. However, one of the most recent “get the eff outta here ideas he has released so far, came up just few days ago when he suggested that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is actually “illegal.” Newsflash; the Constitution is illegal! This comes from the frontrunner of the Party that feigns irreducible fealty to the Constitution. For a point of reference, just think Second Amendment and gun rights. Say what?

In addressing the matter with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, Mr. Trump said that the 14th Amendment – which guarantees citizenship to all people “born or naturalized in the United States,” including children whose parents came to the country illegally is unconstitutional.

“It’s not going to hold up in court.”

The key language, found in the first section of the 14th Amendment is as follows:

Section 1. 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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

A central element of this section is the Citizenship Clause, which overruled the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision that black people were not citizens and could not become citizens, nor enjoy the benefits of citizenship. Some members of Congress voted for the Fourteenth Amendment in order to eliminate doubts about the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, or to ensure that no subsequent Congress could later repeal or alter the main provisions of that Act. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 had granted citizenship to all persons born in the United States if they were not subject to a foreign power, and this clause of the Fourteenth Amendment constitutionalized this rule.

So, suddenly, Donald John Trump, turned Constitutional scholar, has declared an Amendment, adopted July 9, 1868, invalid. One more element of this facet of the conversation is the use of the term Anchor Baby. The term is a pejorative description for a child born to an illegal immigrant mother to the United States.

There is a popular misconception that the child’s U.S. citizenship status (acquired by jus soli) legally helps the child’s parents and siblings to quickly reclassify their visa status (or lack thereof) and to place them on a fast pathway to acquire lawful permanent residence and eventually United States citizenship. Current U.S. federal law prevents anyone under the age of 21 from being able to petition for their non-citizen parent to be lawfully admitted into the United States for permanent residence. At best, the child’s family would need to wait for 21 years before being able to use their child’s US citizenship to modify their immigration status

The term is generally used as a derogatory reference to the supposed role of the child, who automatically qualifies as an American citizen and can later act as a sponsor for other family members. The term is also often used in the context of the debate over illegal immigration to the United States to refer to children of illegal immigrants, but may be used for the child of any immigrant.

The pyrotechnics over the use of the term has spilled over into the jousting between Jeb Bush and Trump. According to Mr. Trump, Mr. Bush has issued a memo dictating that the term should not be used.  However, when he (Trump) used it, and surged even more in the polls, Mr. Bush quickly pivoted, and employed the term.  Moreover, he has been adamant about refusing to relinquish it.

That’s cute and all, but the real elephant (GOP symbol) in the room is that several of the current GOP Presidential candidates have direct ties to immigrants.  In fact, Mr. Trump’s mother, the former Mary Anne MacLeod, was a Scottish immigrant, born on the Isle of Lewis, off the west coast of Scotland.  Two of his three wives, the former Ivana Zelníčková, a native of the Czech Republic, and Melania Knauss, a native of Slovenia, were also immigrants.

As for the current slate of candidates, one, Ted Cruz, was not born in the United States, though he gets his citizenship from his mother, who was an American citizen. His father is Cuban born; his American mother gave birth to Rafael EdwardTedCruz in Calgary, Alberta (Canada).

A second candidate, Marco Antonio Rubio, would, by Jeb Bush and Donald Trump’s definition, be considered an Anchor Baby. Marco was born in Miami in 1971. His parents applied for Citizenship, and were Naturalized in 1975.

Yet another candidate, Piyush “Bobby” Jindal, also fits the profile. His parents moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, from Malerkotla, Punjab, India, in January 1971, a few months prior to Bobby’s birth on June 10th. Jindal’s case is particularly curious in that he has voiced support for the effort to end the practice, born in the 14th Amendment. Upon reflection, I must wonder, if the practice is in fact ended, is there a way to make it retroactive. That would help thin out the GOP field of candidates. At least it would eliminate a couple of candidates polling in single digits anyway.

For the sake of full disclosure, it’s important to note Trump and Jindal are not the only GOP candidates to board the Anchor Baby bandwagon. Governor Scott Walker, whom I wrote about last week, Governor Chris Christie, Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Rand Paul, and former Senator Rick Santorum have all embraced the questionable and controversial position. I will reiterate my most fervent plea. Do your research, and by all means, vote. Your very way of life may depend upon it.

As for that GOP Mantra referenced earlier, and the commitment to devise and execute a new initiative to turn the tide, we will see. At this point in the race, it’s difficult to be anything other than dubious about its prospects.

A common phrase related to the race is, “it’s early;” and it really is. There is still a lot of time for the “Change We Believe In” to occur. At this point in 2007, Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney led the polling for their respective Parties. Of course, neither of them went on to win. So, perhaps that bodes well for those who hope not to have to contend with the likes of President Trump. Although, for whatever it’s worth, that fact shouldn’t instill much confidence for Clinton backers either. But that’s a discussion for another day. Right now, just sit back and contemplate The Team GOP Conundrum: “Trumping” the Immigration Issue!”

I’m done; holla back!

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