Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, an attorney and expert in immigration issues who recently even testified before Congress, provided sweeping rebuttals on Twitter this week to some recent comments from Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, who’s running for president.
DeSantis seems unlikely to actually win, considering Trump still has a majority or close to the majority of the support among Republican primary participants, even after two criminal cases. Still, Ron is easily the candidate trying to topple Trump who has the best chance, considering essentially nobody else in the GOP field is generally even cracking double digits in polling. In comments outlining some of his policy vision for the United States, DeSantis (or some team member) railed against the idea of birthright citizenship, meaning the generally automatic grant of citizenship to individuals born in the country. Unsurprisingly in view of the GOP obsession with the topic, DeSantis’s campaign tied the issue back to undocumented immigration, referring to that provision in law as “dangling [a] prize.”
Reichlin-Melnick outlined in brief terms how ending birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants or essentially any other group just isn’t happening in any reasonably anticipated scenario. “Couple things to note: – As has been said repeatedly, this would require a constitutional amendment and ratification by 2/3 of the states, so it’s obviously not happening,” the attorney explained. “- If the US ever did this, it would create a permanent underclass and undermine immigrant integration.” In short, birthright citizenship is outlined in the Constitution, where provisions of the 14th Amendment, which was established in the wake of the Civil War, outline universal grants of citizenship. It’s easy to imagine how that legal update helped directly upend the evils of slavery.
DeSantis also recently provided support for the notion of using deadly force against individuals committing what is essentially the mild structural damage of cutting through southern border barriers. “Shooting someone on the other side of a wall for cutting a piece of metal is literally murder,” Reichlin-Melnick said online in response. “And not even this 6-3 Supreme Court is going to uphold US government officials murdering people in a situation where there is no imminent risk of harm to the shooter.” Republicans in positions of political power should really get a hobby other than making life miserable for communities of immigrants.