Without an ounce of originality, tired old anti-immigrant groups are once again joining forces to exploit California’s bad economy and scapegoat the Golden State’s immigrant population. Through a ballot initiative, they seek to cut benefits to U.S. citizen children and throw the 14th amendment of the U.S. constitution, which grants individuals born in America their citizenship, out the window. According to the L.A. Times, the organizers of the amendment are seeking to curb what they call “invasion by birth canal” and are using the bad California economy as their latest opportunity to bash immigrants.

“Illegal immigration was a powerful political issue in the economic downturn of the early 1990s, and the initiative’s backers hope it will be again. Hilton said the group is enlisting an “enormous volunteer base” for the signature gathering. His organization, Taxpayer Revolution, has gathered endorsements from elected officials, including Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach), the American Legion California chapter and immigration restrictionist groups such as NumbersUSA, Save Our State and Coe’s California Coalition for Immigration Reform.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center has gone even deeper in exposing backers of the amendment which also include Congressman Brian Bilbray and other notorious anti-immigrant voices.

However, what these folks just don’t seem to understand is that elimination of birthright citizenship does nothing to advance the current immigration debate.  The American public wants real solutions, not proposals that look tough on immigrants but are ineffective and harmful to our Nation.  Furthermore denying birthright citizenship will not reduce undocumented immigration.  Proponents of this proposal claim they seek to curb undocumented immigration, yet the effect of their proposal would be to increase the size of the undocumented population.  Millions of children could be born with no citizenship or nationality, leaving them stateless.  It is clear, however, that these folks do not seek real solutions to our nations broken immigration system but prefer demagoguery over pragmatism.

The truth is that immigrants have always been integral to California’s economy and always will be. Not only do they pay billions in state income and sales taxes, but their place in the state’s labor market, has actually increased wages for the native-born workers they stand shoulder to shoulder with. Additionally, the large Asian and Latino population in California represent 30% of the state’s total purchasing power and 24% of all of California voters are “New Americans.”

While it is doubtful that this initiative will get off the ground or gain any real traction (and even if it does it would eventually be settled by the courts), it is like watching a bad old movie, where the anti-immigrant bad guys use tired, old unproductive political strategies to forge their anti-immigrant agenda. It’s time for some original programming.

Photo from Norm Schrager.