- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 12, 2008

The process isn’t broken

The idea that American politics is badly broken — as claimed by Harlan Ullman in “Primary madness” (Op-Ed, Wednesday) — represents a kind of cynicism that completely overlooks the beauty inherent in the process of democratic elections.

Although campaigns often spend hundreds of millions of dollars (even to woo small slices of the population in the early primaries), the process achieves two amazing things: Candidates are forced to confront the issues that truly bother American voters, and American voters are forced to confront the ideas and characters of candidates who potentially will represent them. Furthermore, these judgments and decisions are refreshed with each election cycle.

Mr. Ullman is right to assume that crises never take holidays and that elected officials are not always fully prepared for the challenges of office on day one; however, he is wrong to assume in his closing statement that the public does not demand from its representatives a government that is fully willing and able to govern. When our representatives continue to fail, they are elected out of office, and someone whom the public deems more able takes the failed representative’s place. Thus, according to Winston Churchill, democracy is the worst form of government — except for all the others.

LIAM HARDY



Research assistant

Turkish Industrialists’ and

Businessmen’s Association

Washington

Soldier on

Elaine Donnelly’s series on homosexuals and women in the military astounded me (“Gays and the military,” Op-Ed, Jan. 2 and Jan. 3). She wrote as if these issues are theoretical and are still waiting to be decided.

The military has functioned with homosexual soldiers for as long as the military has existed. To eliminate some of the best and brightest done occasionally and decried by their brothers and sisters in arms is the bureaucratic equivalent of the military shooting itself in the foot.

Women in combat is a nonissue. Women are in combat as we speak, and performing as male soldiers always have many on a high level, some not.

Doing surveys on what the public thinks of this is moot and unproductive. The logistical details of including homosexuals in military life have been dealt with for decades. The only question now is how to improve those logistics the first steps being acknowledgement and a nondiscriminatory policy.

Consider the performance of homosexual and female soldiers to judge the appropriateness of their inclusion and not uninformed opinion. The result will be as it always has been. Gender and sexual orientation are not predictors of combat performance.

CYNTHIA W. MORSE

Oakland, Calif.

‘Anchor babies’

Illegal aliens apprehended by law enforcement are subject to deportation. On the other hand, a baby born to illegal aliens while on U.S. soil is automatically a citizen.

Parents of these children are normally granted instant residency allowing them to remain anchored in the country. Thus, the genesis for the euphemism “anchor babies.” Parents of “anchor babies” then qualify for welfare benefits, including free medical care courtesy of the American taxpayer.

Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee reportedly proposed amending the Constitution to end automatic citizenship to babies born in the United States but subsequently denied making such a proposal (“Huckabee retreats on birthright citizenship,” Nation, Wednesday)

Hopefully, other candidates will embrace the idea of putting an end to an unintended path to citizenship just because one is born within the U.S. border.

The anchor baby question has been raised before with a number of advocates for ending this practice, proposing a new article to the Constitution as the solution.

The problem with this approach is twofold. First, a constitutional amendment is difficult to achieve, and second, it isn’t necessary to end this practice.

In 2006 legislation was introduced in Congress (H.R. 1940) by Rep. Nathan Deal, Georgia Republican. His legislation sought to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act by denying citizenship at birth to children born in the United States of parents who are not citizens or permanent resident aliens.

Mr. Deal’s bill forbade citizenship to any child born in the United States unless at least one of the parents is either a citizen or an alien who has been admitted for permanent residence. This same stipulation would be applicable to children born out of wedlock.

Opponents to the legislative approach point to what appears to be the unambiguous language of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States ”

On the other hand, others point to the words of the amendment that declare “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” to make the case that the framers clearly provided an exception to what appears to be a carte blanche command.

Writing in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Charles Wood observes that while the meaning of the citizenship clause is not clear on its face, “the clause certainly provides that some persons born in the United States are not citizens, namely those who at birth are not ‘subject to’ the jurisdiction of the United States,” such as diplomats of other nations who have legal or factual immunity from local law.

Most relevant to our current situation vis-a-vis illegal aliens, is the point made by Mr. Wood wherein he noted that “in the common law, the allegiance of the parents were imputed to the child born on the sovereign’s territory.”

In other words, if there were no allegiance to the United States by the newborn’s parents, the same would be said of the child. Thus, no citizenship would be recognized even if the child were born on American soil.

This issue and salient questions pertaining to illegal aliens and citizenship need to be addressed. Given the current state of affairs, the proposal should be given serious discussion.

Without question, illegal immigration is a growing crisis facing our nation. Furthermore, every discussion pertaining to citizenship must include the question of citizenship posed by anchor babies.

JOHN R. STOEFFLER

President

Madison Forum

St. Louis

Take back America

I read John Lockwood’s letter “Securing the border” (Wednesday) with interest. As a young U.S. Border Patrol agent in 1959, I remember sitting with some fellow agents and laughing at the antics of Richard Webb and his Hollywood colleagues (“Border Patrol”) performing unbelievable feats. It was great drama, and the early television watchers loved it.

Back then, we had a force of less than 1,400 agents, and annual arrests did not reach 40,000 per year. We were a band of brothers. The southern border and immigration were under control. We had a legal and fair system.

I am a legal immigrant myself, who came to the United States in the early 1950s. Today, there are 15,000 border patrol agents, and they are being assaulted every day on the Mexican border by the narco-gangs and others.

In 2008, with few exceptions, we have a do-nothing Congress and White House when it comes to fairly enforcing the immigration laws. The system is not broken; it is just that there is too little political will to enforce the laws that have been on the books for decades.

Today, we have an estimated 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens in our country. Included in that number are about 700,000 absconders who have already been ordered deported and are still here.

There are probably thousands of M-13 gang members, sexual offenders, credit card scammers, thieves and terrorists among those millions. And our political presidential candidates are silent. We need to take back our country.

HUGH BRIEN

Chief, United States Border Patrol (retired)

Manassas

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