Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Would the Founding Fathers be considered "illegal immigrants" by conservative standards today?

Asked by Dutchess_III (43086points) August 17th, 2012

Just curious. This rant by the conservatives about getting rid of non-documented folks in America is often tied right in with the Founding Fathers.

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59 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

No. They are white.

zenvelo's avatar

No, they are not Latino.

Nullo's avatar

No. Immigration worked differently then, and the root issues – social services and cultural integration – were irrelevant. Furthermore, most or all of the Founders were born here, making them “legal” by the then-non-existent US citizenship rules.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Nullo This required some imagination…I specified by “today’s standards.”

jca's avatar

I could be wrong but I suspect that Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, et al were born in the US. Googling now.

Nullo's avatar

@Dutchess_III You can’t honestly compare the two like that.

If you want to get really ridiculous, you could ask if the Indians would be considered illegal by the standards of the Paleo-Indians.

Dutchess_III's avatar

This is interesting. “Now, some Republicans are expressing support for an idea that many people call extreme; denying citizenship to U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants.”

@jca It just took a sec “Most of the 1787 delegates were natives of the Thirteen Colonies. Only 9 were born elsewhere: four (Butler, Fitzsimons, McHenry, and Paterson) in Ireland, two (Davie and Robert Morris) in England, two (Wilson and Witherspoon) in Scotland, and one (Hamilton) in the West Indies.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Nullo…the question speaks to intolerance and mean-mindedness, period.

jca's avatar

I read that the US born children of immigrant thing came about during the slave days, so when a plantation owner brought a slave from Africa and that slave had babies, the babies were automatically considered citizens. Now, the problem is that immigrants come illegally across the borders of the US (through California, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico) just to have babies. No pre-natal care, no insurance, just at the 11th hour to deliver a baby in one of the US hospitals. As a result, many hospitals near the border are going broke.

zenvelo's avatar

@jca They come through JFK Airport for the same reason, but nobody seems to get up in arms over that.

And no one has really shown that the sole purpose of pregnant Latinos crossing the border is for that reason, when in fact it is often concern about better health care here.

Nobody complains about the illegal Irish immigrants either, just the Latino ones.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@zenvelo I know, right? And even worse, a person could be a third generation Mexican-American, but he or she is still going to get dirty looks.

It’s just amazing to me the impact simple skin color can have, and the ignorance it generates. They interred all of the Japanese-Americans in camps during WWII…but not the German-Americans.

Nullo's avatar

@Dutchess_III So you want me to say, “Oh yeah, they’re some evil bastards, they are.”
You know what? I don’t think that they’re being intolerant or mean-minded. I think that they’re trying to enforce a basic concept among nations, that being the sovereignty of the government over its borders. Getting rid of the anchor-baby policy makes a certain amount of sense because otherwise you have people breaking the law and then saying, Oh, but you can’t deport us because we had kids on this side of the border!
People used to have wars over stuff like this. You want to see mean-mindedness? Intolerance? Check out how other first-world nations handle their illegal immigrants. The United Kingdom.Japan.. Australia recently ended a policy of locking up people who overstay their visas.

This has been framed as a race issue when it’s a legality issue. Maybe we should reform policies. But simply acquitting lawbreakers so that we don’t look racist isn’t a good idea, either.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t think it’s about racism, @Nullo. I agree that criminals and deadbeats should be deported. (Had a female inmate at the jail who got deported just the other day.) But if a person is willing to work hard, and becomes a meaningful contributor to our economy, they should be allowed to stay.

Nullo's avatar

@Dutchess_III So you don’t realized that by immigrating illegally that they are breaking the law? That’s the crime, right there. Some of them, yes, are bad people. Some of them are not bad people. But every single illegal immigrant is a criminal because they broke the law to get here. That’s what illegal immigrant means.
You cannot honestly say that the colonists were immigrating illegally because there was no law to break.

bookish1's avatar

@wundayatta : Not only were they of European stock, but they were landholders. That was just as important.

@jca: What? How did American-born slaves become citizens?! Didn’t we have to wait til the 14th Amendment before former slaves could be citizens…???

Dutchess_III's avatar

No, they were considered “citizens” of a sort. The reasoning was, I think, that it strengthened the slave owners “ownership” of the slaves. Makes sense in a convoluted, terrible way.

I understand what you’re saying @Nullo. But if my family’s lives were at stake, I’d break a law to get them to a safer place. Any Jews in the Warsaw ghetto who escaped were probably breaking the law then, by escaping. Same with people who hid the Jews, and the Quakers etc. who hid the slaves. They were breaking laws.

Nullo's avatar

@Dutchess_III Oh yes, let’s bring the Holocaust into this. ~
Their motives may be good, I agree. But the government is about laws, not morals (I know, I want them to shift to more morals, but nobody wants to play that game). They are breaking the law. The law only has one way to treat them: like the criminals that they are.
You’ve Godwinned us all.

bookish1's avatar

@Dutchess_III : What do you mean by ”‘citizens’ of a sort”? Can you be more specific?

FutureMemory's avatar

Would the Founding Fathers be considered “illegal immigrants” by conservative standards today?

They would have been by the people that were already living here. (Indians)

No one seems to ever give a shit about that, though.

Jaxk's avatar

Ask the Indians if they considered us illegal immigrants. You may get a different take on the whole question. The Indian wars were all about uncontrolled immigration. The original citizens didn’t fair too well and I suspect they would have liked to see the immigration controlled.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@bookish1 I’ll try…that was just a thought I had. I’ll go look.

@Nullo Some laws are worth breaking, is what I’m saying.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Nope. I got nothing @bookish1. I refer back to @jca‘s post. I suspect that what she read indicated something less than actual citizenship, but I don’t know cuz I didn’t read it. Do you have a link for us kitty kat? :) (I used to have sheets and pillow cases that had your black and white cat on them. That was in the 70’s. :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

“I guess they’re not all bad people. They seem to be here to work and provide a better life for their families. I still don’t want them here illegally, so I’m going to work hard at making the immigration process easier, instead of just criminalizing the ones that get here by their own means.” – Good comment from a made up story.

jca's avatar

@Dutchess_III: I don’t have a link – don’t remember where I read it.

Strauss's avatar

@Nullo, which are the bigger criminals; the undocumented workers, or the employers that hire them?

wundayatta's avatar

American slaves were counted as three-fifths of a citizen for purposes of the census. The census count was used to determine how many congress critters a state got. I believe that non-citizens do not count for purposes of establishing congressional representation, so since slaves did count as three-fifths, we can conclude they were at least three-fifths of a citizen each. Of course, they couldn’t vote. So that’s a pretty interesting deal the South was able to cut.

zenvelo's avatar

ALL usual residents are counted in the US Census to determine Congressional representation, including non citizens and illegal immigrants. Prisoners are counted at their locale of incarceration, not at their previous residence.

US citizens overseas. other than military personnel or Federal employees, are excluded from the census.

wundayatta's avatar

Well, it seems I was wrong. Non-citizens do count for reapportionment, according to the Census FAQ on the topic:

Who is included in the apportionment population counts?

The apportionment calculation is based upon the total resident population (citizens and non-citizens) of the 50 states. In the 2010 Census, the apportionment population also includes U.S. Armed Forces personnel and federal civilian employees stationed outside the United States (and their dependents living with them) that can be allocated, based on administrative records, back to a home state.

The same FAQ also says that overseas citizens also count. They are not excluded:

Do the apportionment population counts include Americans overseas?

Yes, the apportionment counts include those overseas federal employees (military and civilian) and their dependents living with them that can be allocated back to a home state. Included in these counts are members of the U.S. Armed Forces on military vessels assigned to a home port in a foreign country and their dependents overseas living in port near them. Private U.S. citizens living abroad, who are not employed by the Federal government are not included in the overseas counts for apportionment.

So this is interesting. If you have a large non-citizen population, then the citizens in that area get extra voting power. Republicans should love this, especially in Florida and the Southwest, where they hold power, and there are significant numbers of non-voting immigrants who inflate those states numbers for purposes of Federal monies.

If they kept out the illegal immigrants, the Republicans would lose power and money. They must be truly ideological….. Right.

bkcunningham's avatar

If you are really interested in knowing the answer to your own question, @wundayatta, about the 3/5 Compromise, read about the Missouri Compromise and the founding of the Republican Party.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m with @bookish1. I think the 14th Amendment was passed in the mid 1800’s? Before that just being born in the US wasn’t good enough. We didn’t have Jus Soli. Remember history is my worst subject, so don’t read this as though I am any sort of authority on the topic.

As far as the OP’s main question, I think the founding fathers were all born in the US as people mentioned above. However, the were born before we were an independent country. The colonies were still part of the British Empire weren’t they? So, I guess if we would consider a Mexican born in TX before America took over those lands and it was still Mexico, that is sort of the same thing. If you live on the land that America acquires then you are automatically an American throughout history I would guess? I’m really not sure.

It’s sort of hard to really compare Washington’s day to now, the immigrations situation is very different. Apples and oranges.

bkcunningham's avatar

The Republicans enacted the 13th Amendment, 1865, abolishing slavery but Southern Democrats were going to circumvent the civil rights guaranteed by the 13th Amendment so the Republicans passed the 14th, (1868) and 15th Amendments (1870) guaranteeing civil rights and securing voting rights for all former slaves.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham And, then the great grandchildren of those Democrats became Republicans.

bkcunningham's avatar

What? The great grandchildren of those Democrats became Demcrats like the great, late-Senator Robert Byrd.

EDIT: No offense, my dear friend, but history rocks. You should give it a whirl. ;~)

JLeslie's avatar

Not all of them, just most. Most of the conservatives around me had parents and grandparents who were Democrats.

Nullo's avatar

@Dutchess_III You are correct in saying that some laws are worth breaking. Evil or otherwise immoral laws, for example. In my case, any law preventing me from exercising my faith.

@Yetanotheruser Who indeed? Both parties are in the wrong. IIRC that bill that Arizona passed (which later got killed, I think, by the SCOTUS) would have better enabled courts to prosecute those employers.

@wundayatta Who knows, maybe they are. Maybe, at the popular level, the average Republican is a decent guy with some integrity about himself. The politicians have to pay them some attention, or lose them to the Left or a third party.
I think that you paint with too broad a brush, my friend.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham You can read about here. Start under the heading The Great Society 1963–68 through the headng The South Becomes Republican.

josie's avatar

No. The Founders were not subjected to Immigration law. It did not exist in the 18th century in the same fashion that it does now. Plus the founders were not taxed by the Central Government in order to pay expenses for other immigrants.
Different time. Different debate.

JLeslie's avatar

@josie Illegal aliens cannot get any social services except emergency medical care, and I guess their children go to our public schools. But, schools get very little fundng from the federal government, it is mostly local taxes.

augustlan's avatar

@josie Also, most illegal immigrants do pay taxes. A large percentage of them even pay income taxes.

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: The children can get food stamps, public assistance, rental assistance, help with energy bills, and the entire family can get WIC (Women, Infants, Children) which is in addition to food stamps – it’s vouchers for food, over and above the food stamps. So if the illegal immigrants have children here, they’re in the Social Services office getting everything everything else gets, just pro-rated for the children. It’s a mistaken impression that they’re only eligible for emergency medical assitance. This is why it’s advantageous for them to come have children here.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca Do you have a link describing that? Why aren’t the parents deported? It doesn’t make sense to me.

My MIL is legal and she can’t get all the medicare benefits a citizen would get. If she were simply a citizen she would be entitled to more coverage.

jca's avatar

@JLeslie I don’t have a link – I work in Social Services and this is how it is Why aren’t the parents deported? I am told by a cop that I know that ICE won’t come for just one person, only a bunch. As for your MIL, maybe she didn’t work on the books here? Not sure how that works but I heard recently that you have to pay into Medicare. I wouldn’t swear to it, but that might be why she has an issue, despite being legal.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca Oh, I hadn’t remembered you work in social services, I take your word for it, not to worry. That is very tricky to me honestly, I have to think about my opinion on it. I am on the fence about our Jus Soli policy to begin with. But, even if the child wasn’t a citizen, would we let them go hungry? Be without shelter?

Yes, you have to pay into medicare just like social security. Her husband works, just completed his 40 quarters actually. Anyway, he can get full medicare, and if his wife was a citizen so would she. But, she can only get the doctor visits. She can’t get hospitalization or medication coverage. I find it a little odd. Usually when people by outside insurance they buy catastrophic. I guess she can do that, buy the hospitalization for a reasonable price.

bkcunningham's avatar

This and this are both relevant to @jca‘s point.

jca's avatar

@bkcunningham: Thanks for the relevant links. Knowing that, it illustrates why many people are resentful of illegal immigrants.

bkcunningham's avatar

I hope they were really helpful, @jca. It is a lot of information to digest, but the site gives some essential facts.

wundayatta's avatar

Illegal immigrants are a conservative’s dream. I don’t understand why they are so opposed to them. They come to this country and they live in conservative areas. They dramatically increase the population of those areas, which entitles those areas to more congresspeople. Thus, they inflate the number of conservative congress critters but they can’t vote! So conservatives votes actually count more.

In addition, because they have inflated the population of conservative areas, they increase those areas’ share of federal dollars. More dollars, and yet still, only the voters get to say where those dollars are spent. In other words, the conservatives can cut off spending for illegal immigrants (and they do), and use all that money for themselves.

Plus, the illegals pay taxes and pay into social security and medicare, but they can’t get anything back out out it. Again, more money for conservatives, and it’s all free.

Why do illegal immigrants go to areas where the people take advantage of them and discriminate against and hate on them in return? Why don’t illegal immigrants come to places where there are respected and appreciated for their contributions? Instead they give more power to the politicians who hate them. It just makes no sense. And it makes no sense that conservatives should hate them, since they are the ones advantaged by the illegal immigrants’ presence.

It’s a crazy backwards upside down world, and I am not saying this is a conspiracy. I am just pointing out how ironic it is. Conservatives, if smart, would love the immigrants. But they hate them. And immigrants, if smart, would hate conservatives, but in their life choices, they behave in a way that helps their enemies.

In a way, this gives me a kind of good feeling. If things are so fucked up, and it isn’t a conspiracy, then surely things might work out for the best on occasion, as well.

bkcunningham's avatar

Do you think illegals fill out the US Census forms, @wundayatta?

wundayatta's avatar

@bkcunningham Yes they do. Not all of them, but the census works very hard to find them and take down their information. The census even has estimates about how many illegals they haven’t gotten to fill out the form. The census knows what the real population is. Unfortunately, Congress doesn’t allow them to use estimates.

Like I said, it’s ironic, because the illegals would benefit the people who are against having them counted more than they would benefit those for having them counted.

bkcunningham's avatar

You said that illegals do benefit the conservatives because they are counted in the census, @wundayatta, and you said they give power to those that hate them.

Then you said the illegals would benefit the conservatives if the conservatives would allow the illegals to be counted. According to your prior statement, illegals are being counted. It seems like contradictory statements to me.

But anyway, why do you think, according to your beliefs, that illegals go to the conservative neighborhoods?

wundayatta's avatar

Probably because they are closest to the countries they are coming from: Southern and Western states.

bkcunningham's avatar

I haven’t kept up with it in a few years, but one of the biggest populations in the US was in Northern Virginia in Prince William County. I think it is because that is where the money is. If I risked my life to go to another country to work, I’m going where the money and jobs are located. Wouldn’t you?

wundayatta's avatar

No. I think I would do what most immigrants do, and go where my family already resides, or where people like me already reside. What seems to be more important is a built in community that you can turn to for support. It’s not so much how many jobs are there. And if you are at all entrepreneurial, it doesn’t matter where the jobs were. What matters is your ability to make something of yourself. Which, in a way, is what makes most illegal immigrants more American than most Americans.

Nullo's avatar

@wundayatta You cannot fathom people unwilling to see others not play by the rules, huh? Not everybody wants federal money, either.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why don’t we just annex Mexico.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I don’t think the Mexicans would go for it, and it would put a huge strain on our social services ironically.

wundayatta's avatar

@Nullo I think that some people are unwilling to support rules that are wrong. So they don’t play by those rules. I can’t say that I think government should spend a lot of effort enforcing stupid rules. I rather see government doing something useful.

Nullo's avatar

@wundayatta So it’s wrong to want some kind of check on immigration? I ask you: what is a country without its borders?

wundayatta's avatar

I’m not sure, @Nullo. But if we did have free immigration, what would be the harm? What would be the benefit?

Some of the benefits would be that we would have a larger labor supply. More people would make money and there would be an improved economy. In addition, we might find it easier to hire for position that are currently hard to hire for.

Most people who come here, come here to work. It’s hard to pull up roots and move to a place where people have different customs and don’t speak your language. You have to be very strongly motivated. Indeed, in many cases, you have to be willing to risk death to get here. These are people who want to be here, and who want to work and contribute to society.

Personally, I wish we didn’t have borders. I wish we could all think of our allegiance to the world; to all humanity; not just to some subset of it. I wish we could be free to travel where we want to, with respect, of course. I’m not afraid of a world without borders, and I don’t know how borders really help us.

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