Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More Hypocrisy from Congress recently published an astonishing opinion piece from Rep. Mike Honda, a 10 year veteran of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The topic is illegal immigration, specifically the debate over the 14th Amendment which gives citizenship to anyone born in the United States. We’ll leave the debate on the issue until later, but we’d first like to address the incredible hypocrisy on display by Rep. Mike Honda.

Rep. Honda illustrates, in 466 short words, everything that is wrong about Congress and politics.

While trying to contribute to the debate over whether the 14th Amendment should be repealed or amended, Rep. Honda focuses his efforts on highlighting the apparent flaws in the Republican proposals, while only providing one or two cursory thoughts about issues that are, at best, tangential to the 14th Amendment (i.e. “undetermined nationality” and deportation costs). The pedestrian comments end with the following nugget of Washingtonese:

“There is no doubt that our immigration system is broken, but it's not our Constitution or the 14th Amendment that is to blame, it is our inability to put aside partisan politics to develop a comprehensive and humane solution. And if anything needs amending, it is partisan politics.”
When read on its own, this comment is reasonable enough, and probably the most sensible in the entire piece, but when attached to the end of a column that is nothing if not the epitome of partisan politics, it reeks of hypocrisy.

In the column, Rep. Honda calls out three Republicans by name, uses the word “Republican” an additional 7 times in the article (each and every time with negative connotations), and takes a dig at Arizona’s (Republican Governor) immigration legislation . He could have saved us all some time and shrunk down his column to the following:

“Our immigration system is broken, but the Republicans are wrong to suggest amending the 14th Amendment. I have no original thoughts on how to fix it, so I’ll just repeat that Republicans are wrong on the 14th Amendment. Republicans are wrong on the 14th Amendment. Oh, and by the way, partisan politics is bad.”

Lastly, did Rep. Honda a huge disservice by running an opposing column by Rep. David Vitter (called out in Rep. Honda’s piece) that focuses on the authors concerns with the 14th Amendment and his original thoughts on how it could be improved. Rep. Vitters column has exactly zero references to Democrats, Republicans or partisan politics.

For the record, illegal immigration is certainly an issue that needs to be debated and ultimately legislated, but it’s not a topic for which is positioned to thoughtfully comment. Generally, we support greater enforcement of immigration laws but only in conjunction with easier legal paths to citizenship. We believe US citizenship is a privilege that must be earned, not a right.

We’re one of the few (and certainly the largest) countries in the world that has birthright citizenship, and we would support safeguards to ensure illegal immigrants, and even temporary legal visitors (tourists, etc.) are not entering the country for the sole purpose of giving birth on US soil, thereby providing their children with US citizenship.

Our children were born in the United Kingdom and hold dual citizenship (US & UK), not because they were born there, but because we, as parents, followed the legal path to citizenship (6+ years of residency, paying taxes, gainful employment, pledging allegiance to the queen, etc.). We earned our citizenship, and passed that benefit on to our children.


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