Stacey Campfield and that Pesky Fourteenth Amendment

Today Stacey Campfield has a charming post called “We must protect the children…Unless they are illegal.”  I ask you to contemplate the title of his post as you read the post itself.  Then, return here and answer this question: Where in the post does Campfield address actual “illegal” children?

Donna Rowland had an amendment that would track the number of children that do not have a social security number and don’t have their immunization shots (Mostly children of illegal aliens). People that are illegal and their children are exempt from providing proof of immunization shots and can admit their children no matter what. Their numbers are not tracked.

I hope that Rachel over at Women’s Health News will check into the factuality of this statement.  I, of course, am less interested in fact as I am in rhetoric (ha, that’s the kind of statement that gets taken out of context later) and what’s got my attention in this post is that way that Campfield is calling the children of illegal aliens–see “people that are illegal and their children”–themselves illegal–“we must protect the children… unless they are illegal.”

Folks who love the Constitution, I expect you to keep an eye on this kind of rhetorical nonsense, because what we’re seeing, mark my words, are the earliest assaults on birthright citizenship.  This kind of rhetoric, in which we link the immigration status of one’s parents with one’s legitimate claim on citizenship in a negative way, is designed to ease people into accepting the idea that, if one’s parents aren’t here legally than, even if one is born in the U.S., one is not really a U.S. citizen.  From there, it’s a short leap to denying these children, born on U.S. soil, U.S. citizenship.

I hope y’all can see the far reaching implications of this.  If being born on U.S. soil isn’t enough to guarantee U.S. citizenship, what legitimate claim do any of have on citizenship?  And, if we can make it seem acceptable to deny citizenship to these kids, what’s to keep it from being acceptable to strip any of us of our citizenship?

58 thoughts on “Stacey Campfield and that Pesky Fourteenth Amendment

  1. Perhaps I’m missing it in another section, but I’m not finding a section of Tennessee code that provides this exemption. I see [49-6-5001] – “(c) (1) No children shall be permitted to attend any public school, nursery school, kindergarten, preschool or child care facility until proof of immunization is given the admissions officer of the school, nursery school, kindergarten, preschool or child care facility except as provided in subsection (b).” The subsection b exemption reads, “In the absence of an epidemic or immediate threat thereof, this section shall not apply to any child whose parent or guardian shall file with school authorities a signed, written statement that such immunization and other preventive measures conflict with the parent’s or guardian’s religious tenets and practices, affirmed under the penalties of perjury”

    It also appears from 49-6-5002 that, “The certificate of immunizations required of any child who has not received all immunizations required by the commissioner of health, under the provisions of § 49-6-5001(a), shall be forwarded to the commissioner. The commissioner shall be responsible for monitoring the health records and notifying the student’s legal guardian(s) and the local school system in the case of noncompliance with immunization requirements.” I could see how, if the list of possible children needing vaccination is established on a SS# basis, that those without an SS# would end up being excluded from this list. I don’t see anything that explicitly exempts “people that are illegal and their children.”

  2. Since most immunizations are given at the county level(health depts), why can’t they simply provide these immunizations, free of charge, to all children, and make it traceable by name? I don’t get the point of the legislation anyway, and the post title (at Campy’s) seems unnescessarily inflamatory.

  3. Well, I won’t go into the whole “illegal isn’t a noun” thing right now. Or the fact that I really couldn’t quite figure out exactly WHAT Campfield was trying to say. I mean, how exactly would one track individuals who have not submitted to the State’s tracking system? If the state tracks children via their SS#s and their immunisations, how on earth are we supposed to track anyone who has neither? Oh, I see. Because they’re going to school. I follow now.

    I’m just scared that it would appear none of these fine lawmakers are aware of the Privacy Act of 1974 which in part makes it illegal for Federal, state, and local government agencies to deny any rights, privileges or benefits to individuals who refuse to provide their SSNs unless the disclosure is required by Federal statute, or the disclosure is to an agency for use in a record system which required the SSN before 1975.

    Now, I don’t know if the schools are exempt from the Privacy Act. I tend to think not, because my siblings and I didn’t have Social Security numbers until 1982, when the Supreme Court said that religious people couldn’t be exempt from having SSNs on the grounds of religious freedom. But we did all four go to school from 1975 onward.

    Mack, from what I can tell the only purpose of this little piece of garbage bill is to provide yet another piece of the framework in arguing for a National Identity Database, further curtailing the rights of the States and the free movement of citizens.

    We’re going to be so petrified of 13 million illegal immigrants that we are supposedly going to hand over WILLINGLY our own freedom of movement and thus abridge our primary right of citizenship in the United States.

  4. I’m gonna get railed for this…

    I’m missing something. I immediately took his post title as sarcasm, as well as the last statement, “I guess it is more important to protect the illegals from detection then it is to protect the children from disease.” (i.e., surely he wouldn’t be that blatantly hateful).

    I interpreted “the children” as ALL children (no matter the citizen status of their parents, not just the undocumented). As in, those who killed the bill were so afraid of “illegal” tracking instead of “immunization” tracking, that they put the safety of all of the children in jeopardy.

    …and for the record, that does concern me. However, Mack hit it on the head. Why not track by name?

    So…am I giving Campfield too much credit?

  5. “I mean, how exactly would one track individuals who have not submitted to the State’s tracking system? If the state tracks children via their SS#s and their immunisations, how on earth are we supposed to track anyone who has neither?”

    Well, considering “illegals” aren’t really all that human to begin with, I suggest that we look towards the cattle industry for ideas on that.

    “So…am I giving Campfield too much credit?”

    Any credit to Campfield is too much, but yes, I took the title the same way as you Ginger.

  6. Ginger, I think you had the read on it that Campfield intended. His argument, and the arguments of those sponsoring the amendment, seems to be that the children of illegal immigrants are going to expose our children to disease.

    Leaving aside the prejudicial, paranoid talk-radioesque side of the argument for a moment, I’d just like to point out that there are many people who are born here and have the legal right, on religious grounds, to refuse immunisation for their children. There are many children in the school systems who are NOT immunised. Of course, the government doesn’t want parents to know that, because they would very much like you to believe that when you place your children in their hands for eight hours a day no harm will come to them. And if your child is immunised, he or she IS protected against disease. Those who AREN’T protected against disease are those who are NOT immunised. So they are accepting their own levels of risk. We can argue plenty about whether or not immunisation exemption is a good thing or a bad thing. I know Rachel and I have gone over this ground in the past.

    But the fact remains that it is perfectly legal for you to refuse to immunise your child. And you don’t have to be a dirty brown or yellow or black person from another country.

    There is much paranoid raving on the part of anti-immigrations which characterises all immigrants as bringing filth and disease to our pristine shores. There is much talk on websites all over the country about how much of a public health problem the immigrants are. In some cases immigrants will bring diseases heretofore unseen in our populace. So what? We treat the disease, learn about it and move on. No nation has a completely closed biological system. Citizens can bring new diseases just as readily as non-citizens.

    But it is troubling to me to see how readily members of our government characterise human beings as an unwanted vector of disease. It’s as though they’re plague rats.

  7. But it is troubling to me to see how readily members of our government characterise human beings as an unwanted vector of disease. It’s as though they’re plague rats.

    uh, yeah…sort of like the Jews were seen as in Germany…”unclean”

    I’m telling you, it’s going to come to that if something isn’t done soon.

  8. Excellent points, Kat. I wish I could get you to publish something on this issue, you can turn a beautiful phrase. Here’s the thing, I know you loathe the use of emotional hot buttons in this debate. You must see how they are an important tool for someone like me. I am not advocating for anything that is unfair or unsound, but there are debateable points in this issue, and I know that. My problem is I am forced to deal with so much of this inflammatory rhetoric, and I do not have the press access that say, a State Rep does. Putting a human face on the issue has proven to be useful, and I think it’s a fair tactic. We are not arguing about the tax code here, we are dealing with human beings, and a whole bunch of them are children who have done nothing wrong.

  9. A couple of thoughts:

    1) We need to be careful about not automatically assuming that every time a right-winger communicates on a hot button issue that they are automatically being inflammatory. In doing that, we will be (mistakenly) tagged, and then when they really do need to be called out it will lose its credibility. (i.e., “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”)

    2) Regardless of the status of the parents, if a child is a US citizen with a birth certificate, they (should) have a Social Security number. When I had my daughter, one of the forms I filled out at the hospital was one to get her social security card. I received it in the mail a few weeks later. I believe this is standard practice in most hospitals now.

    So why would there be any problem in tracking their immunizations?

    Hence, I believe this bill was moot anyhow.

  10. I know you loathe the use of emotional hot buttons in this debate.

    Indeed I do. Very much. That’s one of the things that’s got me railing on Campfield’s post. I mean, he’s going on about Protecting Children as an excuse for government abridgement of personal freedoms.

    You must see how they are an important tool for someone like me.

    It seems to me, honestly, that both sides are forcing that tactic upon one another. I don’t argue that it’s a valuable tactic for either side. It is. I just don’t like it, because it accomplishes little other than forcing the other side to continue to characterise the debate in that manner.

    We are not arguing about the tax code here, we are dealing with human beings, and a whole bunch of them are children who have done nothing wrong.

    The tax code deals with human beings, Mack. Every political issue, no matter how seemingly dry, has a real effect on real people. That’s why politics is important. I just dislike all appeals to emotion because I think they are propagandistic and actually move us away from solutions. It becomes a game of “I see YOUR suffering citizen children of illegal immigrants and raise you my victims of illegal immigrant gang bangers!” with everyone predisposed to make their decisions based wholly on which camp weaves the better yarn.

    Over in the comment section at Campfield’s he’s already got some folks saying “Wait a second, dude! You mean THESE KIDS DON’T HAVE THEIR SHOTS!?!?” as though we’re letting a bunch of rabid dogs into the school system. Never mind that the facts are that those hurt most by not having their shots are the unimmunised, and there are many thousands of unimmunised non-immigrant children in every state.

    Appeals to emotion on either side encourage us down a road of dangerous thinking, in my opinion. I KNOW you’re on the side of the angels in this. You have real concerns for very real and very disadvantaged human beings. I don’t deny that for a second. I just question the return on that type of investment.

    What works for you in the short term may harm you in the long run.

  11. As an employee of the Dept. of Health (boy, last time i did this i got yelled at, lol), let me say that Rachel is absolutely correct. There is no exception, other than a religious exemption for allowing kids to enter school without immunizations. I don’t have a clue whatthehell old Stacey is talking about here, other than to head in the direction that Aunt B points out.

    We do have an immunization registry in the state. It includes all shots given by health departments, all shots issued to a kid with BlueCare (Blue Cross TennCare MCO) and a smattering of private docs. We are attempting to enroll the private docs, but that is a slow process. We DO track immunizations, but obviously if the kids get their shots from private providers, we may not have all the immunizations.

    Mack, et al. Immunizations (vaccines) ARE free at the Dept of Health clinics across the state. There is an administration charge, but that charge slides based on income.

    Finally, a surprising number of kids in Tennessee either do not have an SSN or have not presented SSN to the health dept. These kids are not all aliens. The lack of an SSN is NOT an indicator that the child is an ‘alien’ or the offspring of aliens.

    T

  12. 1) We need to be careful about not automatically assuming that every time a right-winger communicates on a hot button issue that they are automatically being inflammatory.

    It might also be nice to avoid pseudo-derogatory terms like “right-winger”.

    So why would there be any problem in tracking their immunizations?

    Because it’s a violation of privacy which abridges the free movement of peoples throughout the federation of free states.

  13. PS. I should also say that many private docs are enrolled in the Vaccines For Children (VFC) program administered by the feds..those docs can’t charge for the vaccine either…but, they, like the state, can charge for the adminstration.

    One reason I can never swim the divide into libertarianism is the importance of Public Health, both on a federal and state level. Good public policy says that the lack of childhood disease is worth the cost of the vaccine. We do a lot more than just ‘shoot’ kids, but that is an important part of the HDept.

  14. We DO track immunizations, but obviously if the kids get their shots from private providers, we may not have all the immunizations.

    You track immunisations, but you don’t presently tie that trackback to SSNs, correct? The immunisation tracking is independent of an SSN assignment, as I understand it. This is a double-blind which allows increased privacy and freedom of movement. Most of us whacky libertarian nutballs oppose the use of an SSN as an overarching Federal ID Number used to track all business dealings within the state. Because that moves us closer to creating a national database, etc.

    Hence the Privacy Act of 1974. Hence my vehement opposition to anything which violates that Privacy Act.

  15. uh..Kat, et al, people can opt out of the state immunization registry tracking if they wish, but the vast majority of folks don’t. Most states do have immunization tracking and most states share immunizatin info upon request for specific kids.

  16. SSN is a tertiary identifier in the registry for our purposes and for what we do to share data with the schools. However, when we share data with other state, SSN is a necessity. Kinda hard to share data without a common data element. Name and DOB just don’t cut it.

  17. There are all kinds of HIPAA regulations about sharing data. It can’t just be shared with anyone interested, unless there is a medical necessity. Rachel probably knows a helluva lot more about the HIPAA aspects of this.

  18. It might also be nice to avoid pseudo-derogatory terms like “right-winger”.

    LOL! KC, you just did exactly what I’m talking about. Assuming that what I said was inflammatory.

  19. Not really. I just let you know that I personally find the term “xxxx-winger” (whether “right” or “left”) to be derisive and dismissive.

    I didn’t at all assume you were being inflammatory, and that’s why I thought you might want to avoid the appearance of being inflammatory.

  20. hey, i’m not the one trying to destroy the capitalist tool ‘JesusLord’ Kirk and ASS. inc….actually, I am attempting to aid and abet.

  21. Ok, fair enough…seriously, what would be a better word for me to call a, um, person of the right persuasion and a person of the left persuasion? Besides, I didn’t know you were right winger…I thought you were libertarian.

    I hope you ultimately understood what my comment regarding this meant anyway…

    Secondly, unless the government asks me to tattoo a barcode on my wrist or forehead, I’m not too awful concerned about having a tertiary identifier such as a social security number.

  22. Kat, people are not like vulcans. Most are uninformed, and even after they are presented with information, they do not boil it all down to determine the most logical approach. Most arguments against illegal immigration trace their origin back to fear, and therefore loathing. The logical arguments are, I believe, easily addressed. (by that I mean there is room for compromise and therefore a solution.) Most of the time, I play defense, that is I am not usually out there lobbying for more money for ELL classes, (though, thats an important component to a solution) I am not asking FOR anything, rather I am protecting against the assault on basic human rights.

    You and I will work out the details for a solution, then present it to our illustrious State Reps and the world will be a better place. Plug in the coffee.

  23. I can neither confirm nor deny any plans I would have with regard to the demise of any employment companies in the Tennessee area.

    I am a libertarian. We have no wing. We just float out there on our own, wingless. I was just saying that if we’re looking for diplomacy, it’s good to start with diplomatic language.

    I’m glad the rest of you aren’t as whacked-out paranoid as we libertarians. I personally think the fewer identifiers stapling me to the grid the better.

    Which is why it’s terribly ironic that I continue to shoot off my mouth under my real name on the internet.

    I may be the world’s Stupidest Libertarian.

  24. Since the more virulent members of the arm of conservatism have ruined the term liberal, we on the left-ish side prefer to be called ‘progressives’…which, I think makes the opposing wing, ‘regressive’..that hasn’t seem to catch on quite yet.

  25. I personally agree with limitations on the use of the SSN on pretty much any data sharing usage EXCEPT health care. It’s just too important to be able to share medical history, hopefully with the proper safeguards, e.g. HIPAA.

  26. Ginger: get a pencil.

    Leftists= tireless, righteous warriors in the battle against corporate oppressors.

    Rightists=soul-less, robotic enemies of all that is true and just. (or, the Devil’s spawn)

    and, now, a little Lynnster “Hee!”

  27. I think the correct term for the libertarians is ‘anarchists’…hope this helps.

    ::clutches chest:: All anarchists are libertarians, but not all libertarians are anarchists.

    Kat, people are not like vulcans.

    MOST people. I’m the one whose falling in love with Robots in my dreams, remember. I tend to be very much more vulcanlike than many other people when it comes to politics. It’s good when you tackle an issue to have a few people like me mixed in with a few people like you. That’s why we all have our special gifts.

    You and I will work out the details for a solution, then present it to our illustrious State Reps and the world will be a better place. Plug in the coffee.

    Fair enough.

    I don’t guess Terry Frank has weighed in on the Kirking issue..

    Neither Terry nor another person whose name I’m not allowed to say. Because of course being able to say critical things about people and organisations on the Internet should and probably never will be a concern of Terry Frank’s. When has she ever said anything negative about anything or anybody in the past? I doubt this issue would ever pertain to her in any way, shape or form.

  28. Isn’t it true that medical & communicable disease data can be disclosed to the Health Dept. without identifying elements, and only demographics?

  29. I personally think the fewer identifiers stapling me to the grid the better.

    too true.

    #

    I may be the world’s Stupidest Libertarian.

    Comment by Katherine Coble — April 15, 2007 @ 7:20 pm

    too funny.

  30. all positive communicable disease tests MUST be reported to the health dept. We have to have identifiers in order to ensure that contacts are notified and tested as well, and to ensure that proper meds are administered. Dat’s the law. Trust me, ask Rachel..it’s a good one.

    You can only pass along de-identified data for purposes of summary reporting or for national stats. CDC doesn’t care about the names..they want numbers. We have to know identities, but HIPAA protects the public from that info being passed to the wrong hands, along with other state laws, AND along with Dept of Health policy that states basically, anyone who tells anybody about anything in a medical chart to a non-provider can be fired. Believe me, they have!

    Rachel – do you agree with my assessment of HIPAA re all this?

  31. Yeah, that’s how it worked when I was at Baptist Hospital.

    Wasn’t sure if the Health Dept. had to know identities…thx for clarifying.

  32. Ginger, it rhymes with Ronna Rocke.

    John, not to sound all paranoid-fruitcakey on you, I understand the practicalities, but I still have a hard time with the philosophy. Sure, a discloser of private information can be fired, but that will never put the genie back in the bottle. The information is still out there.

    And Ginger, I know I sound like I’m crazy, and I realise that we libertarians tend to seem overcautious. But that’s only because we’re fans of imagining the Worst Case Scenario. You don’t mind the “tertiary identifier” of a SSN right now. But just look at what Stacey and the Gang were advocating. They want to use the ABSENCE of a SSN as a marker for a special class of people.

    I don’t want to Godwinise the thread by pointing to fascist states, so let’s look at Ireland instead.

    Exceptioning groups of people based religion, party identification or race is the first step down an ugly road. Today it’s “making a list of all the people without SSNs and immunisations–for our own good.” Tomorrow it’s “making a list of all the people who’ve emigrated from X country which is known to have Y disease. Don’t worry–it’s for the good of public health.”

    Soon you’ve got internment camps and genocide. It’s happened time and again–and not just in Nazi Germany. It’s happened in England, Ireland, India, Rwanda, Russia, the United States.

    Categoric exceptions lead to catastrophic repression. One of the truisms of history.

  33. KC: LOL on your rhyyme. :)

    I couldn’t agree with you more on the point that if we continue down the road of singling out groups as “unclean”, yes, we will be heading toward internment camps and even genocide (I referred to this up in comment #7). However, I do not see having a data tracking system as the problem. It is what is done with the information.

  34. As a reformed Trekkie, I consider myself something of an armchair expert on the Vulcan aspects of Trek mythology. Throughout the evolution of the Star Trek franchise, one of the most interesting developments was Vulcan anthropology. With the original series, Vulcans are portrayed as lacking in emotion. With The Next Generation, Vulcans become creatures who are biologically predisposed to violently powerful emotions; the cultural (racial?) adherence to logic, reason, and thought has evolved from a need to contain the potential harm of those emotions. With ensuing series (and some of the films), the latter theme is toyed with and fleshed out. The Vulcans began the series as simplistic hyper-rational foils for passionate humanity. They became a more indepth method for exploring the depths and complexity of human emotion.

    Okay, the point: none of us are Vulcans. When we try to rely solely on logic and reason, it inevitably morphs into rationalizing and often leads to some of the worst behavior of which we humans are capable. That’s just my opinion, of course. Laws– be they tax laws or immigration laws– tend to be looked at as reference points for rational behavior. I don’t why; maybe it is because they are usually written in such dry, narcoleptic language. But rarely are laws based entirely on logical and rational bases.

    That’s why when we’re debating issues that swirl around laws and the consequences of making and administering laws, it is unreasonable to expect that we can turn off our emotions. I suggest that instead we be more careful about which emotions we rely on when dealing with these issues. Just take a look at where the selling of fear and hatred has gotten us over the last couple of decades. Though macho posturing and merciless piety seem to be having a great vogue these days, I think the most productive emotional states flow from empathy and compassion.

  35. Hey Hey HEY!

    Let’s watch the name-calling of those on right-leaning side.
    As for the left, “Dirty-Hippie” works well. Yes Mack, I read your comment about the scent of pachouli. Perhaps your senses have become dulled from over-exposure.

  36. However, I do not see having a data tracking system as the problem. It is what is done with the information.

    What happens when someone with bad intentions gets hold of the information? Presumably you’ve seen what both the Clinton and Bush administrations did with FBI files…

    Most things are created out of good intentions. Annoying people like me exist to point out the potential warpage.

    I suggest that instead we be more careful about which emotions we rely on when dealing with these issues.

    Which is exactly why I eschew appealing to others’ emotions.

  37. I do agree with John’s assessment in that it corresponds with my understanding of how things work. I think one problem with not having SS#’s tied to health data is that it can be much more difficult to identify an individual based solely on name and birthday than you would imagine, and human errors happen in the process of creating medical records. Any time you go to the doctor, you’re likely giving your SS#, which appears in your medical record. Immunizations are no different. There’s always the challenge of balancing privacy against usefulness, and SS# are extraordinarily useful in making sure you have the correct record for the correct person. However, I don’t think that this is an argument for making an assumption that anyone without an SS# isn’t vaccinated, or that people who aren’t getting vaccinated are without SS#’s and “illegal.”

  38. “All anarchists are libertarians, but not all libertarians are anarchists.” ’tis true

    “Kat, people are not like vulcans”

    Us trekies know that vulcans place a high emphasis on logic rather than emotion.

    But, I must ask: is morality rational?

    And I must add that, in my opinion, we don’t have a moral obligation to follow the law.

  39. Eliyahu – for the record, I was kidding way back up there with my ‘the proper term for libertarianists is anarchists’ comment. Just tweaking the Kat-ster. She’s now the queen of the nets and I have to appear irreverent to keep my street cred.

  40. Ha, I missed all of this excitement somehow. So, going way back to the beginning, Ginger, I do think Campfield would be that blatently hateful. It could be that a more generous reading would see him being sarcastic, but considering that the post itself seems to be advocating a world-view where we believe that illegal immigrants are a threat–not just because they aren’t following the law–but because they’re disease-ridden and out to infect “our” kids with whatever they have, I have a hard time feeling like it’s my duty to continually bend over backwards to read Campfield in the best light. Why doesn’t he just write more clearly? He’s not stupid and in person, he’s very eloquent.

    Second, I don’t think this is a left-wing/right-wing problem. This is the ugliest side of Nativism rearing its head and both sides are guilty, to some extent, of succumbing to nativism. You rarely hear righties arguing how wrong it is that we go to war when we can’t take care of our own. That’s us lefties and that impulse to take care of OUR OWN can easily lead to defining “our own” in harmful ways.

    Any impulse, such as the one lying right there on the surface of Campfield’s post, to talk about the children of illegal immigrants as if they are a problem that must be dealt with, as if they, those children, are here illegitimately is a threat to the Constitution (specifically the 14th amendment) and should be immediately addressed as such by people on both sides of the aisle.

    We do not have to dismantle the Constitution to deal with illegal immigration.

  41. Why doesn’t he just write more clearly? He’s not stupid and in person, he’s very eloquent.

    Maybe, but I noticed that the only time he displayed any sort of eloquence was when he was dissecting the path to power. He is fully dedicated to achieving power.

  42. B. (and also, Mack) obviously we agree on the dangers of Nativism (how many conversations have Mack and I had about this…too many to count)…and obviously, Sean B., agrees as well.

    So,I hear ya, B., but I wasn’t the only one who took his title as sarcasm. Yeah, perhaps I’m giving him too much credit, perhaps he should write more clearly, but I’m not the only one who interpreted it that way. So hell no, I’m not bending over backwards for the guy by any stretch.

    Anyway, the point is that we agree on what really counts with this issue.

  43. arrgh…now I’ve got a really disturbing image of my bending over backwards for Stacy Campfield, and it won’t go away…

    Thanks. Thanks a lot.

    Make it stop!

  44. Just for the sake of the argument here, I would like to point out that I do not have any of my immunizations. They got me prior to 4 years old but after that all bets were off (it’s a phobia thing and not a relgious thing). The lady in charge of my local health department gladly signed off on the required forms each time the issue came up, rather than deal with the scene involved in getting me immunized. My ssn was not required at any time. I am willing to bet I am not the only person who has circumvented the system this way. I agree with the learned folks above that HIPAA regulations would take care of most of these issues.

    The Alignment Nashville group that works out of the Mayor’s office has a task force that is specifically targeting children’s immunizations for Nashville, and as it grows Middle Tennessee. Fortunately they are a colorblind group and seek to help all children regardless of immigration status, country of origin, age or economics. These people can use all the support and volunteer help that they can get. Perhaps Campfield should talk to people like this to get a better perspective before he throws some of his ideas out there. I wonder if he ever really wants to make a difference or just make waves.

  45. 2) Regardless of the status of the parents, if a child is a US citizen with a birth certificate, they (should) have a Social Security number. When I had my daughter, one of the forms I filled out at the hospital was one to get her social security card. I received it in the mail a few weeks later. I believe this is standard practice in most hospitals now.

    (Emphasis added)

    It’s that bolded part that’s the problem, Ginger. If you’re afraid of being deported (and surely don’t have insurance for that very reason), your chances of winding up in a hospital to give birth – emergency situations aside – are pretty slim. And if you’re not at a hospital (and have reason to be distrustful of official stuff), you aren’t likely to get a birth certificate (right away). It’s possible, of course.. and it happens pretty frequently. But the biggest problem with our “return to sender” instant deportation policies is the fear they engender. If getting your child’s papers in order is likely to result in them being removed from your care and you being deported, it might not be as easy a choice to make as it might otherwise be.

    Second, I don’t think this is a left-wing/right-wing problem. This is the ugliest side of Nativism rearing its head and both sides are guilty, to some extent, of succumbing to nativism. You rarely hear righties arguing how wrong it is that we go to war when we can’t take care of our own. That’s us lefties and that impulse to take care of OUR OWN can easily lead to defining “our own” in harmful ways.

    Any impulse, such as the one lying right there on the surface of Campfield’s post, to talk about the children of illegal immigrants as if they are a problem that must be dealt with, as if they, those children, are here illegitimately is a threat to the Constitution (specifically the 14th amendment) and should be immediately addressed as such by people on both sides of the aisle.

    That’s what I was thinking, Aunt B. Although there are partisan overtones to a lot of the debate (what debates do we have here that don’t?), this one is a nativism/xenophobia/bad thinking issue. It’s shifting the locus of the problem from “hey, here’s a problematic situation” to “hey, these people are problems.” More importantly in this case, it’s shifting the issue from “hey, here are some citizens with problematic parents” to “hey, here are some problematic people.” That, with the linguistic baggage that gets tossed on there (OMG disease! Must be unclean! Must…get…out…. of…plagueland..), gives us some frighteningly poorly worded and thought-through recommendations on both sides of the aisle.

    (Oh, and the proper term for non-anarchist libertarians is “idealists.” ;) Y’know, what with the thinking we’re all every one of us pretty much good and smart enough to do everything we need to do and not get taken advantage of if we don’t want to.

    That, of course, makes the proper term for us lefty types “curmudgeons.”)

  46. Pingback: Nashville is Talking » Kids Against the Law

  47. If you’re afraid of being deported (and surely don’t have insurance for that very reason), your chances of winding up in a hospital to give birth – emergency situations aside – are pretty slim.

    yikes…where are they giving birth?

    It’s shifting the locus of the problem from “hey, here’s a problematic situation” to “hey, these people are problems.” More importantly in this case, it’s shifting the issue from “hey, here are some citizens with problematic parents” to “hey, here are some problematic people.” That, with the linguistic baggage that gets tossed on there (OMG disease! Must be unclean! Must…get…out…. of…plagueland..), gives us some frighteningly poorly worded and thought-through recommendations on both sides of the aisle.

    (bold emphasis added)

    mag, you have such a way with words that it makes a simpleton like me able to get to the basic point of whatever discussion we are taking part in.

    Thanks for that.

  48. I certainly can’t speak to Campfield’s intent, but I think we’re all safe to say that there are many in the political arena today who would like to move in the direction of removing birthright citizenship. That horrifies me. To me, it’s one of the founding principles of this country, albeit not truly enacted until the 14th Amendment.

    That said, I can tell you that my son was a U.S. citizen for 11 months after his adoption without a SSN. The typical waiting period for the documents he needed was actually over two years….we got lucky and had excellent folks in Rep. Jim Cooper’s office to thank — otherwise my son wouldn’t have been on my tax return this year!! It would have been a bad, bad thing for my pocketbook.

  49. Aww, Ginger. Thanks! I’m glad you like my explanations.

    As for where they’re giving birth… well, pretty much wherever they wind up. The bit of me that’s critical of our over-medicalized culture wants to say “Where women gave birth for thousands of years before we invented the hospital”… but the value judgments in that statement are a little skewed for this particular issue. (That is, many of them may wish they could give birth in a hospital, but be unable or unwilling to do so. Which is a separate issue from whether or not one really needs to be in a hospital for a routine, uncomplicated birth.)

    From what I’ve heard, at home surrounded by what loved ones they can manage is a good beet for people not in immediately stressful/dangerous situations. For migrant workers, people just crossing the border, or people otherwise in situations where a home, loved ones, and/or a clean place to sit may not be forthcoming, it seems like “wherever they can manage to sit down/squat” is a fairly standard location. And bathrooms aren’t just for scared teenagers either.

    It is, however, absolutely not the case that one cannot go to the hospital without insurance or documentation. One must simply be in a life-threatening condition or unconscious and clearly in labor. Working at the Birth Center all those years ago, the EMH people would occasionally bring people in, or tell stories of how they found this woman or that woman passed out in an alley with no information, and how they had to bring her in anyway. We, of course, never saw those women… we were a level 1 facility, equipped only for the easiest, most basic procedures. Anyone who even looked like they had a cold was referred to somewhere else.

    From the hospital’s side of things, it’s problematic, because there’s no one to bill and they’ve rendered all this expensive care. Which occasionally leads to clandestine calls to INS or the local police… but also might lead to people simply quietly losing billing paperwork or redirecting calls until no one knows where the billing got messed up. I have no idea about the frequency of either case, since my sample was necessarily quite small. (A 15 year old volunteer only hears so much.)

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