The ordeal for Hispanics continues. A Nebraska state senator introduced an initiative on illegal immigrants, similar to a controversial law passed last year in Arizona. The congressman argues that the project aims “to stop illegal immigration” and “protect the taxpayers from having to pay for the education, welfare, and medical expenses of illegal aliens."
Like the Arizona law, this would require police officers, when enforcing other laws, to question the immigration status of those whom they suspect of being in the country illegally. It also would require those who are not citizens of the United States to carry documents showing their legal status; failure to do so would be a misdemeanor. Although it is clearly shown that this type of legislation encourages racial profiling, Nebraska is one of 21 states seeking approval of similar legislation.
On another front, several state legislators proposed denying citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants, supposedly to protect the country from what they describe as an immigration invasion. The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution grants citizenship to anyone born in the country. The 14th Amendment, adopted in 1868, negated a Supreme Court ruling of 1857, which held that neither freed slaves nor their descendants could become citizens. The amendment says that citizenship applies to “all persons born or naturalized in the U.S. and subject to the jurisdiction thereof …” Lawmakers are seeking to introduce bills into their legislatures requiring parents to prove their immigration status before obtaining a birth certificate for their babies.
The politicians seek to create two types of birth certificates, one for children of citizens and another for children of illegal immigrants. The lawmakers characterize illegal immigrants as a "poison," an "invasion,” and argue that many illegal immigrants cross the border with the sole purpose of having children in the U.S., thus anchoring themselves in the country. In other words, they want the world’s exemplary democracy to have two classes of citizens, some of higher and some of lower status, as during the days of slavery. The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), a pro-immigrant organization, expresses fear that “illegal state schemes being proposed today will lead to a permanent underclass of easily exploited undocumented workers in our country.” Organizations defending the rights of Hispanics contend that equality before the law of all births in the U.S. is one of the central engines of equality, defended by the Constitution of the country and fundamental to society.
The atmosphere of hostility toward Hispanics has grown to the extent that the issue of immigration reform has become politicized. In the last presidential election, they were asked for their votes; in exchange, priority would be given to immigration reform, in order to resolve the situation once and for all. The promise has not been made good. Other priorities occupied the administration, until the subject became so politicized during the midterm elections that the condition of Hispanic immigrants has become even more complicated.