National Catholic Reporter

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Save the 14th Amendment

Senators David Vitter and Rand Paul have introduced legislation that would alter the heretofore commonly understood meaning of the 14th Amendment, which guarantees citizenship to anyone born in the United States. They wish to deny such citizenship to the children of undocumented workers. The whole issue is entirely trumped up. There is little in the way of data to show that non-citizens come to America to give birth so that their children can acquire American citizenship. But, why let a little thing like reality get in the way when you are trying to develop a wedge issue, putting a racist policy in constitutional drag, and trying to exploit poor people for political gain.
Mr. Paul, you may recall, took about a week to clarify his position on the Civil Rights Act back when he was a candidate, so perhaps it is unsurprising that he in a bit slow at recognizing how racist his positions are. Mr. Vitter, an unimpressive politician known mostly for getting caught up in a prostitution scandal, seems also to revel in the prospect of thumbing his nose at Latinos. But, surely, wiser minds, such as those of former President George W. Bush and his brother former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, should prevail in the counsels of the GOP: It is political suicide over the long haul to alienate Latinos. There is a point, and it is closer than you might imagine, at which Texas will become a majority-minority state. 85% of the population growth between the 2000 and 2010 censuses in Texas was minority population growth. Two of the four new seats in Congress the Lone Star State will pick up in 2012 will likely go to Democrats, even though the GOP controls all levers of power within the state. Why? Because the demographics are already beginning to trump politics in Texas. So, Mr. Paul and Mr. Vitter should ask themselves a question: How does a Republican win the White House once they lose Texas?

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