Gohmert Continues to Push ‘Terror Babies’ Debate on 14th Amendment
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) reasserted his claim last night that Al Qaeda may be sending women to the U.S. to birth a contingent of future terrorists credentialed with American passports.
Gohmert argued with host Anderson Cooper, who asked him to provide proof to back up his claims about the phenomenon. He said “the evidence abounds” but failed to produce a source for his information, other than an anonymous former FBI agent. (Watch the video here.)
Observers note the argument is a convenient one, politically, because it can’t really be proven right or wrong in the short term. The effects of the supposed phenomenon are too far in the future: If “terror babies” are being born in the U.S., we won’t know it for about 20 years. The delayed impact of such measures is one of the main reasons Gohmert’s argument is unfounded, according to Ruben Navarrette Jr. He argued at CNN today that Gohmert and other Republicans are relying on fear-mongering to obscure the immigration debate:
If the supporters of SB1070 really believe in the merits of their cause, they should be able to win the argument on the natural, without relying on hocus-pocus or scare tactics or radical makeovers. And if they can’t do that, if they have to portray babies as terrorists and immigrants as drug mules in order to win support for their side, then this should tell them loud and clear that they’re on the wrong side of this issue — not to mention, on the wrong side of history.
Republican statements on the 14th Amendment’s birthright citizenship are numerous, but they’re also all over the place — and Gohmert seems to be on the radical edge his party’s leaders are trying to avoid. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican National Committee have made a point of steering clear of claims of “terror babies” and racially-charged statements about border-crossers. Instead, they have focused on a Washington Post article on “birth tourism,” a proven, if not especially prevalent, practice of Chinese women paying to come to the U.S. to have citizen babies.
Gohmert tried to back up his claims about the 14th Amendment and terror risks using the Washington Post article, too. But “birth tourism” seems to be a separate concern: the article does not mention terrorism.