It’s not a Sunday without GOP leaders saying something crazy on the talk shows. So House Minority Leader John Boehner yesterday made it unanimous among GOP leaders: We should explore repealing the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment. On yesterday’s Meet the Press, he declared,
I think that there is a problem. To provide an incentive for illegal immigrants to come here so that their children can be U.S. citizens does in fact draw more people to our country. I do think that it’s time to secure our borders and enforce the law, and to allow this conversation about the 14th Amendment to continue.
Pressed by David Gregory to say whether he has “a position” on repealing the Citizenship Clause, Boehner added,
Listen, I think it’s worth considering. But it’s a serious problem that affects our country. And in certain parts of our country, clearly, our schools, our hospitals are being overrun by illegal immigrants, a lot of whom came here just so their children could become U.S. citizens. (h/t Talking Points Memo).
Nothing supports either of those assertions, but they’re beyond the point in any case. Both the Senate and House leaders of the GOP, not to mention the party’s point people on immigration reform, now agree we should revisit one of our Constitution’s most foundational ideas so that, as Boehner puts it, we don’t “draw more people to our country.” This madness ought to reveal just how dishonest our immigration debate is. The Republican leadership is making a plain appeal to xenophobia amid economic anxiety—an anxiety the party has helped create, by the way, with its ongoing effort to slash the social safety net when we most need it. The rules aren’t working to keep immigrants out, its leaders have declared, so let’s just rewrite them. Law and order is so, so important.