Trump’s New Birtherism.
Imagine this, if you can. You are a loyal citizen of this nation, born in the USA and raised here. You have served honorably in our military. You go on a brief vacation, to say Canada, to see family and friends there. When you return, you go through immigration and present your passport, a passport issued by the United States Department of State, and which you have used many times previously for this purpose.
But this time it is different. Your passport is seized. You are detained and shipped to an illegal immigrant detention center. Trapped in detention you try to present your birth certificate, one given to you by your state, to prove you are an American citizen. The immigration authorities simply summarily reject it, advising that they suspect it might have been fraudulently secured by the midwife who delivered you misrepresenting that you were born in the United States. Even if such fraud did happen, which in your case it did not, you obviously had no part in it.
Because you are entering the country they claim the burden to prove you are a citizen is on you. Since your official birth certificate is deemed of no value, immigration authorities demand you provide other proof you are a citizen, born in this nation. They suggest you provide stuff like evidence of your mother’s prenatal care, your baptismal certificate or perhaps rental agreements from when you were a baby. How many of you have any of that stuff?
Absent this, they keep your passport, continue to hold you in detention, and perhaps even begin deportation proceedings.
You sue the government, demanding release and return of your passport. You win, as most who sue in these circumstances do. The cost of it all decimates the funds you set aside for your child’s education. Yet, you are one of the lucky ones. Not everyone in your circumstance has the resources to do that.
According to a Washington Post report, this nightmare is happening to dozens of American citizens. Of course, it doesn’t happen on the Canadian border, certainly not to white Americans visiting that country. This experience is pretty much confined to brown Americans living near our Southern border.
Immigration authorities disregard state issued birth certificates on grounds that people were delivered by midwives they have deemed suspect. The suspect midwives did deliver some babies in Mexico, and falsified paperwork, but they also delivered many babies in the United States who are legitimately United States citizens. In the eyes of this administration, you are presumed not a citizen until you can prove your citizenship, and without reliance on your birth certificate. While the Obama Administration used such tactics, much more reservedly, the Trump Administration has done so much more frequently and aggressively.
In some instances, the proceedings are so bizarre as to become real-world Kafkaesque. For example, government attorneys would demand of their victims that they answer “do you remember when you were born?”
In these guilty-until-proven-innocent scenarios, Trump has achieved one of his stated goals, of removing due process from immigration matters. He tweeted about his desire to do this.
Now Trump is doing what he described to American citizens.
Without due process the government can grab you, declare you a non-citizen and deport you. Trump’s defenders will claim that couldn’t happen to them, because they can prove they are citizens. In the absence of due process, who will they prove it to? A judge has to hear your case and accept your proof.
Further, if the very document deemed as proof of citizenship for every other American, your birth certificate, is suddenly simply deemed not proof at all, what is there for you to do? You have to prove your birth certificate does not have a fraudulent origination. Who among us can do that?
Is it any wonder that a President who challenged the legitimacy of the first black President’s birth certificate is now doing the same with so many Hispanics? I think not.