On Friday, Republican presidential hopeful, Donald Trump gave a speech in Mobile, Alabama to an audience of more than 35,000, the largest group of supporters to date, at the Ladd-Pebbles Stadium.
Alabama has a history of anti-immigration legislation in its recent past, most nationally recognizable back in 2011 when the governor signed into law a notorious program called HB 56, otherwise known as the Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act. The objective of the program was to make it impossible for undocumented individuals to live in the state. The law made it illegal for landlords to rent to undocumented families. Schools were made to require proof of immigration status for all children before enrolling them into any classroom setting.
Eric Holder, the Attorney General at the time did not take kindly to the state’s plan and immediately took action to quash it. Donald Trump spoke about the former law HB 56 and asked supporters to imagine the United States as a country that would uphold the law across all states.
Supporters of the former HB 56 law have stated that they fear the United States if in danger of invasion by foreign nationals coming to take jobs and take over the country. They are highly concerned with the large influx of immigrants into the country and are seeking to stop it by any means. Republicans supporters refuse to acknowledge that the HB 56 law failed. Soon after the law was abolished, these hard-lined conservatives saw President Obama’s administration as the problem, and blamed him for blocking the successful outcome of the law. The theory arose following the posting of large ads from the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department on the same businesses that posted a smaller signage regarding the requirement of E-Verify.
What Trump failed to mention was the backlash against HB 56 in Alabama among its residents. Alabama suffered a financial blow when a large majority of the immigrant population self-deported and large farming industries had to train new workers. Political analysts theorize that Mitt Romney’s defeat for the office of president in 2012 can be attributed to his support for the HB 56 initiative. Interesting critics of Romney at that time included Mr. Trump.
Supporters of HB 56 maintain that the law helped many business people who lived in the state. They see Trump as a successful businessman who will lead the country much in the same way he builds and leads his successful corporations.
Trump also spoke to the crowd about the constitutional right of “birthright citizenship”, blaming problems stemming from undocumented individuals crossing the border to give birth to what are called “anchor babies.” Trump blamed the other Republican candidates for jumping on his bandwagon in their discussion of this constitutional issue.
The Citizenship Clause comes directly from the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and states “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
The theory that an “anchor baby” accords any rights of lawful permanent residence or citizenship to the parent is completely false and is being used as propaganda for anti-immigrant advocates.