Chinese-American Republican Defends Birthright Citizenship

Charles Djou, Congressman from Hawaii

Republican and Chinese-American Congressman Charles Djou, from Hawaii, has an opinion piece on the Wall Street Journal today defending the 14th Amendment. The article is protected by subscription access, but VDARE has graciously reposted an excerpt:

“The 14th Amendment is one of the crowning achievements of the Republican Party. Following the Civil War, the 14th Amendment guaranteed due process for every person under the law and helped to reunite a fractured nation. It pains me to think that we may start tinkering with this fundamental fabric of our union.

The problem of illegal immigration is a difficult one, touching deeply held beliefs and emotions. But the president and both parties in Congress have a responsibility to engage in a good-faith effort to reach a consensus on an approach that enforces the law, expands legal immigration, and closes the door on illegal immigration.

In the midst of this complex debate, I have faith that the same political process that created the 14th Amendment can produce sound immigration policy that respects our borders and the people who cross over them. I have faith that “We the people” will ultimately move us closer to a “more perfect union.”

As the son of legal immigrants, Djou recognizes that the issue of illegal immigration can only be resolved by encouraging legal immigration. This must involve reforming the current immigration system, making it simpler to navigate immigration law and shortening wait and processing times for applicants. To me, Djou’s position is a textbook example of why improving political representation for minority communities is important; here, Djou’s racial and ethnic background informs his position on the immigration debate in such a way as to provide diversity of thought even within the Republican party.

That being said, Djou also makes a couple comments that seem ahistorical, at best. First of all, while it’s important to recognize the 14th Amendment as a crowing achievement of the Republican Party, we must remember that the Republicans of the Civil War era are not the same Republicans as today. Furthermore, as VDare points out, the “political process that created the 14th Amendment” included a bloody Civil War that fractured the country. Although America is currently politically divided over immigration, advocating a second Civil War seems a wee bit impractical.

I’m hopeful that we can reach comprehensive immigration reform without pulling out our muskets.

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