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Mike Pence: Even More Radical than Trump on Taking away Babies’ U.S. Citizenship

You might not think it possible, but in the quest to take away citizenship from American babies, Republican Party vice presidential candidate Mike Pence shows an even greater zeal than Donald Trump.

The American model of citizenship is very simple: it doesn’t matter who your ancestors were, or what the color of your skin may be, or what your religion is, or what creed you follow.  If you are born in the United States of America, you’re a citizen of the United States of America. The American citizenship system is a tradition of long standing, reaching back from the 21st Century, through the 20th Century, and into the 19th Century. Birthright citizenship was initiated in the 19th Century as a repudiation of slavery. Slaves in America were not granted citizenship despite being born here for generations, and that lack of citizenship was used to oppress and exploit them in a system that continues to be a historical blot upon this country’s reputation (see, for instance, the role of citizenship questions in the infamous Dred Scott Supreme Court case). The institution of birthright citizenship was part of a project to reject the political ideas of slavery, to enlarge of the circle of human rights.

The GOP is Anti-BabyAs you already know, Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump favors a return to the citizenship policy of the slave era. Labeling the American model for citizenship “stupid,” Trump has announced, then repeatedly reaffirmed, his support for a policy in which babies born right here in the USA would be stripped of their citizenship if they were found to possess the wrong bloodlines, bloodlines that tied them to origins in another country. Upon attaining the presidency, Donald Trump would retroactively apply this new policy so that young Americans who have lived their entire lives as citizens would lose that status, becoming suddenly stateless individuals. Trump’s America would rescind its tradition of citizenship for all by birth and replace it with citizenship for some Americans and official foreign status for other Americans, with division by bloodline.

The Reich Citizenship LawTrump’s plans are reflected in the old Nazi model of citizenship.  Marking an abrupt shift from prior German standards of citizenship in which Jewish people could be considered citizens and enjoy citizenship rights, the Nazi Reich Citizenship Law  of 1935 retroactively removed citizenship from some Germans on the basis of bloodlines.  Once their citizenship was removed, millions of Jews quickly saw their political rights eroded and eventually saw their lives eradicated.

Once the notion of citizenship by bloodline was introduced to Nazi Germany, the identification of who was and who was not a Jew became a disturbing preoccupation.  As indicated in the chart above, complicated rules were laid out for defining the supposed essential “Jewishness” even of people who had some Christian ancestry and were not religiously observant.  A minority of Jewish “blood” trumped both Christian “blood” and observed behavior in the Nazi system.  Again, we can find parallels to the American slavery and post-slavery Jim Crow legal systems in which the social/legal concept “blackness” became defined according to bloodlines with even a minority presence of “black” ancestors. As in Nazi Germany, now-obscure bloodline identifications (such as “mulatto,” “quadroon” and “octoroon”) were strongly present and highly consequential in America.

With the constitutional embrace of birthright citizenship, the end of slavery, repeal of Jim Crow segregation and struggle against Nazism and fascist nationalism, the United States has rejected the definition of American citizenship with increasing strength… until the advent of racial nationalism and the rise of its hero to the top of the Republican Party, Donald Trump.  Racist bloodline policy in the Republican Party is nothing new, but until this year it has represented a minority of thinking among GOP politicians who were not in Republican leadership.  As its nominee, Donald Trump controls the Republican Party.  He is its political leader.  As the head of the Republican Party Trump has officially embraced a return to the bloodline citizenship embraced by slave states and fascist nationalists.

Still, Donald Trump has only gone so far.  Trump would “only” (and let’s remember how far “only” takes us) remove the citizenship of American children if neither of their parents is a citizen.

Mike Pence goes farther.

As a member of the 109th Congress, Mike Pence cosponsored H.R. 698, the “Citizenship Reform Act.” Under the provisions of H.R. 698, even if an American-born baby has a father who is an American citizen, if the baby’s mother isn’t a citizen and isn’t married to the baby’s father, the American baby would irrevocably lose U.S. citizenship. As a cosponsor of this bill, Mike Pence favored the removal of babies’ citizenship even when their fathers are U.S. citizens. Having a mother who is a non-citizen pollutes the bloodline, and according to H.R. 698, upon penalty of law those bloodlines are not to be crossed.

In the essential dimension of citizenship, the addition of Mike Pence has pulled the Republican presidential ticket of Donald Trump to even further and more dangerous extremes. The preservation of America as a bulwark against racism, nationalism, and fascism necessitates the rejection of a Trump-Pence ticket.

29 thoughts on “Mike Pence: Even More Radical than Trump on Taking away Babies’ U.S. Citizenship”

  1. Charles Manning says:

    Excellent comment, Jim Cook. Trump’s and Spence’s ideas not only repudiate long-standing and morally commendable law and tradition, but demonstrate glaring hypocrisy. They want harsher laws to punish women for having abortions, and to strip away the right to choose, ostensibly to protect the unborn. And yet they would render newborns stateless.

    1. Jim says:

      Charles, I hadn’t thought about that aspect of the anti-immigrant mentality harbored by Trump and Pence, but I certainly agree with your point.

  2. Dave says:

    From the folks at Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform (

    The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads in part:

    “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.”

    Senator Jacob Howard worked closely with Abraham Lincoln in drafting and passing the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which abolished slavery. He also served on the Senate Joint Committee on Reconstruction, which drafted the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. In 1866, Senator Jacob Howard clearly spelled out the intent of the 14th Amendment by writing:

    “Every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States , but will include every other class of persons. It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States. This has long been a great desideratum in the jurisprudence and legislation of this country.”

    The phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” was intended to exclude American-born persons from automatic citizenship whose allegiance to the United States was not complete. With illegal aliens who are unlawfully in the United States , their native country has a claim of allegiance on the child. Thus, the completeness of their allegiance to the United States is impaired, which therefore precludes automatic citizenship.

    The correct interpretation of the 14th Amendment is that an illegal alien mother is subject to the jurisdiction of her native country, as is her baby.

    Jim, one of you is telling the truth. Did you mention that anchor babies were not allowed in the U.S. until 1965, and that they are still not allowed in Mexico? Bloodlines my ass. It’s a nation of laws, and if the laws no longer apply ( such as in the case of illegals) then perhaps people will return to bloodlines after all. Read some of the Alt-Right stuff that’s out there – and apparently growing – and that’s exactly what they’re doing. I prefer law, myself, so let’s keep our 14th Amendment intact along with it’s original intent. Bloodlines. Sheesh.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Many words boiling down to this: none of what you say is what, in actual case law, the meaning of the 14th Amendment has been settled as for 150 years. We are a nation of laws, yes. The law is not on your side. What you are quoting is the argument of people who would like the laws to be different, just as some nationalistic Germans wanted the law to be different in the 1930s.

      We are also a nation of values. I do not share your values. I believe they are dangerous. History shows what happens when we follow the lead of the Trumps and Goerings and slaveholders of the world. I will not follow them. Ask yourself why you’re standing with such distasteful company.

      1. Dave says:

        No, we do not share the same values on some things. I place a high value on citizenship, you place a low value on citizenship. I think I am keeping good company, thank you.

        1. Jim Cook says:

          I place a very high value in citizenship. You place a low value on immigrants, who have been a historic boon to America. Shame on you and your divisive agenda. I will not stand idly by while your minority tries to corrupt American laws and values of open welcome. I stand with the Statue of Liberty. We lift our lamp beside the golden door. You and your ilk will not shut that door if I can do anything about it.

          1. Dave says:

            My ilk. That’s a good one. What you should understand about me and my ilk is that we like immigrants who come legally, demonstrating a willingness to abide by law. Law is all we’ve got, Jim.

            And when exactly did the United States become a “bulwark against nationalism?” La Raza wants a nation; where’s the bulwark?

          2. Jim Cook says:

            It’s also currently the law that if you’re born here, you’re a citizen. So nobody who’s born here and is a citizen has broken the law. So if law’s your only real concern, you don’t have anything to be concerned about.

          3. Jim Cook says:

            As for illegal immigration, which is a separate issue from denying American-born babies citizenship: it’s not a felony or anything we’re talking about. Are you this insistent about speed limits, another non-felony non-violent law violation? Do you ever drive above the speed limit on the road, like 95% of people here in the USA? Why aren’t you up in arms about that?

          4. Jim Cook says:

            As for that La Raza jab, come on: secession is simply not one of the issue planks of the National Council of La Raza. See — and what does your odd secession notion have to do with taking citizenship away from babies born in the USA? Is it some kind of brown skin connection?

          5. Dave says:

            Your not so veiled reference to racism is out of place coming from one who chooses to live in the whitest State in America. The U.S. is the only country in the Western Hemisphere that indulges the anchor-baby phenom. All other countries in the West and most of the ones outside the West require application and legal processing. Is there a “brown skin connection” in the policy of most of the rest of the world?

            My belief that immigration should be measured and intelligent in no way condemns me as a racist, any more than being a Mainer would. Having a large number of Hispanic and Asian neighbors who have come here legally, succeeded in business and the trades, love the U.S. and call it home who, by the way, for the most part agree with me on this, I’d say I have a brown skin connection of another kind. Nice try, but the race card just don’t play like it used to.

          6. Jim Cook says:

            1. I’ve lived all over the United States, and will live in different places in the future.

            2. The United States is emphatically NOT the only country in the Western Hemisphere to have jus soli laws (remember? you said this was all about the rule of law).

            So what is it? It’s not law — you don’t care about all laws equally, and you’re complaining that the law is the way the law is. What is it that makes the law wrong? You’re just not answering the question.

          7. Dave says:

            Or should I say “racist card?”

          8. Dave says:

            You may be mistaking status quo for law. The fourteenth amendment had a specific aim, and it was not anchor babies. For the U.S. to stop the ridiculous practice, no change in law would be required, only a change in the status quo. There is nothing in the law that requires children of foreigners who are born here to be American citizens if the parents are just visiting. Undocumented aliens are just visiting. As for not answering the question, I was too busy fending off the innuendo of racism.

            The issue of anchor babies has never been brought before the Supreme Court, but it is soon likely.

          9. Jim Cook says:

            “Anchor babies” is an emotional catchphrase used to dehumanize others, not a legal phrase. Of course there is no “anchor babies law,” because it’s not a legal term. Silly.

            Birthright citizenship has been a matter of constitutional law since a Supreme Court ruling of 1898 and was agreed upon case law at lower levels in the federal judicial system before that:

            You’re simply incorrect on these counts. If your misunderstanding of law is the basis for your obsessive position, then you should correct your position in accordance with the sourced, factual corrections I’ve been offering you. If your position isn’t really based on fact, then you won’t change it, and I’ll continue wondering what the fundamental reason for your cruel position toward these children might be.

            The purpose of the 14th Amendment was to prevent the bigoted elements in American society from denying citizenship from a class of people and then using that lack of citizenship to brutally oppress them (see discussion in the article). Since slavery was ended and the 14th Amendment was passed, you don’t have to have the right racial identity or bloodline to be a citizen. You just have to be born here. That legal provision is a protection against the evils done to powerless people here and elsewhere throughout history on the basis that they were sub-citizen, sub-human. I will not stand by quietly while a crowd full of Republicans cheer on a presidential candidate who glorifies torture, who says he’ll kill the innocent family members of people accused of terrorism for shock value, and who insists that some babies born in the USA are less equal than others. We must resist, not join, this morally repugnant movement.

          10. Dave says:

            It’s a good article you link to, and considering the bigotry of the day a necessary court decision. What is also important to any discussion of Wong is stated in the first paragraph: “His papers were in order. He had seen to that.” Somehow this has morphed into “anchor babies,” a term used as a sort of shorthand to explain, as an example, a Mexican couple who swim the Rio Grande, evade the authorities and have a baby on U.S. soil. If no papers are in order and they had not seen to it, what makes sense to me and millions of my ilk is that the baby is a Mexican citizen. Is it typical American hubris that supposes that if the baby is deemed Mexican that that somehow condemns him/her to a subhuman existence as a Mexican? I think many Mexicans would disagree. Could your stance have something to do with the soft bigotry of low expectations for Mexican citizens? After all, it is oh-so-much-better to be a U.S. citizen, no?

          11. Jim Cook says:

            His “papers” were an affirmation that he had been born in the United States. That’s it. You oppose that standard for citizenship.

            You bizarrely assume in the second half of the paragraph that I favor discrimination. Very weird. It is better to be a U.S. citizen when you were born in the United States and have lived in the United States for your whole life, yes, than to be part of a group of people who were born in the United States and have lived nowhere else but do not have the rights of citizens, than to be part of of a group of people whose children, and whose children’s children, and whose children’s children’s children will never be citizens. What a horrid legal scheme the Donald Trumps and Mike Pences of the world would create. In Mike Pence’s world, such a class of people, all born in the United States, become untouchable. A man, even a U.S. citizen, couldn’t marry a woman in this permanent American underclass and have children with her, lest his children become automatic members of the permanent American underclass. (You’ll have to ask Mike Pence why there’s a sexist gender distinction here. What twisted regime is in his head?)

            In history, whenever a nation has designated a second, less privileged category for generations of people born in that nation, it has always, always boded poorly for that second group. The difference is, I oppose the reimposition of such a system of discrimination. You support it. I hope one day in the distant future you will find the moral courage to declare your opposition to such an oppressive move. I do not have the gift of time to wait for Donald Trump and Mike Pence to make that moral change of heart. November is too soon.

          12. Dave says:

            Thanks for the discussion. I do not like Mike Pence, and Trump gets on my nerves ( though Hillary really gets on my nerves) but for my part, I came to my view on this over time, not as a talking point for wall builders. I think the difference in our approach is rooted in this, that you don’t really believe in nations and I still do. C’est la vie. What you see as moral high ground emanates from the desire for a borderless world. What I see as a perfectly moral stance that in no way diminishes the humanity of immigrants, legal or otherwise, is rooted in the desire for borders which define a nation under the rule of law. I have no desire to see someone mistreated, and I certainly don’t think being considered a citizen of Mexico can be construed as mistreatment, and though I think I understand your logic, I just don’t agree with it. Different premise.

          13. Jim Cook says:

            I’m always glad to continue the conversation, but it is clear that in your description of what you think I think, you do not understand me.

            I do really believe in nations. I just don’t believe that nations should be defined according to bloodlines. I believe that nations should be defined by their ideals. I know that our nation’s ideals, as enshrined in our nation’s laws, reject race or heritage as a standard for citizenship. I embrace that ideal. You want to strip that ideal away and replace it with the model used by slaveholders and Nazis and inevitably leading to suffering by those who are excluded. You still haven’t explained why your bloodline obsession is so strong that you want to take away the rights of an entire class of people who were born in and have lived their entire lives as members of our nation.

    2. Jim Cook says:

      Who’s been an advisor to the “folks” at CAIRCO, by the way? None other than white ethnic separatist Virginia Abernethy — see– who they continue to quote with fondness — see –.She ran for Vice President on a white supremacist party ticket. You’re making my point perfectly. I refuse to coddle the divisive, racist agenda that enables slavery and the Nazis to seize power. This is the agenda of Trump and Pence. Read up, Dave. This is an election that matters. I may not vote for Clinton, but there’s no way in hell I’m voting for the likes of Trump and Pence.

  3. John says:

    Please provide links for your (rhetoric) accusation that Donald Trump has said that he intends to deport children that were born on American soil. Also, drawing comparisons between Donald Trump and hitler is fine with me. It seems to be the only platform you have to discredit and preform your character assasination against Mr. trump. The funny thing is that there are actually more parallels to be drawn between the progressive left in this country and hitler than the republicans. Instead of wasting your time drawing imaginary lines from trump to hitler, why don’t you do an article on how the Clinton’s, by bribe or by threat, managed to rig the judicial hearings against mrs. Clinton? I mean it’s a far more concrete story than your imaginary fairytale that trump is the next hitler. You don’t seem to have a problem hypothesizing theories when it comes to reading mr. Trumps future, but LOOK OUT if anybody wants to be extra careful about letting Islamic refugees into the country by the tens of thousands with no paperwork or history. I mean there hasn’t even really been that many terrorist acts committed by Islamic extremists- right? Far better to make up stories about someone we don’t like that’s running for president. Kind of seems a little like a one way street to me.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      I did. Follow them and read thoroughly. I don’t have to support Hillary Clinton (and I don’t) to oppose the thoroughly authoritarian Trump.

    2. Jim Cook says:

      Name one terrorist attack of the last year that was committed by a refugee. One.

      1. John says:

        I didn’t claim that there had been any attacks from refugees. I have said that the United States allowing the refugees from Syria is very dangerous. We need only look at Germany for proof of this
        You on the other hand, seem unable to draw any verifiable distinction between trump and hitler besides your far reaching comparisons that resemble fear mongering more than reliable information.

        1. Jim Cook says:

          Thanks for noting what Trump has failed to acknowledge; that refugees have not been the source of terrorism. Indeed, most of the attacks of the last year have been carried out by people born in this country, not immigrants.

          Name a specific inaccuracy in the article and I’ll correct it gladly, should you provide documentation of that inaccuracy. The information I have provided is accurate. You may not be comfortable with the conclusions I draw. Discomfort is a useful emotion to experience; I encourage you to explore that discomfort.

          There are lots of distinctions to be made between Trump and Hitler. For one, Trump has not used his political office to command the deaths of millions of innocents. For another, Trump has not yet ascended to political office.

  4. Jim Cook says:

    And lest we forget that Republican opposition to immigration has been spiced with a large dollop of racist exclusion, Republican congressman Steve King of Iowa made sure to remind us on national television:

    “This whole ‘white people’ business, though, does get a little tired, Charlie. I mean, I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about? Where did any other sub-group of people contribute to civilization?”


      1. Jim Cook says:

        So now you sure must be calling for the investigation of Donald Trump, his lawbreaking, self-dealing foundation, and his illegal-contribution campaign, right? Right?

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