In collaboration with the Yes Men and a group of artists-activists from the Yes Lab calling themselves the Repatriotas, Marlène co-created Patriots for Self-Deportation (SelfDeport.org): a satirical critique of the increasing criminalization and deportation of undocumented immigrants, as well as the uptick of extreme anti-immigrant laws like SB 1070 in Arizona, HB 56 in Alabama, and the Secure Communities program, which deny basic rights to undocumented people and their families. The Tea Party-esque "go-back-home" rhetoric is so over-the-top—some even clamoring to change the 14th Amendment, so that U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants would not automatically become citizens—that we thought parody was the only sane response.
The Patriots for Self-Deportation website was created in the fall of 2011 and officially launched as SelfDeport.org in January 2012, after Mitt Romney said in a debate that the answer to immigration issues was self-deportation. While the concept Romney invoked (like Daniel D. Portado's in the 1990s) was "attrition through enforcement"—making immigrants’ lives so miserable, they’ll give up and leave—, we view “repatriation” as a logical extension of the “anchor baby” argument, specifically the far-right proposals to modify the 14th Amendment to deny birthright citizenship for children of undocumented people.
The hardline "RePatriots" depicted on the satirical site are mostly young, white, ultra-conservative U.S. citizens who have recently discovered a shocking truth: they themselves, or their (grand)parents, are "anchor babies." Adamantly against birthright citizenship, these Patriots believe they should've never been allowed to be citizens this great land, and are willing to make the ultimate patriotic sacrifice: self-deporting to their ("illegal") ancestor's country of origin.
Following the group's fake press release, they got calls from reporters and individuals who were often not just astonished but also emotionally concerned for the young Patriots choosing to leave “their” country. "But you're...American!", some said. "Why would you leave your country!"
Through satire and "laughtivism," the Repatriotas spark a conversation about "The Real America"and question mainstream assumptions about who belong in it. "Why do descendants of European immigrants who also stayed in the US without proper documentation," they ask, "feel their own immigrant past is somehow 'different' from the DREAMers?"
The name Repatriotas was an inside joke: "They're not just patriotas, they're re-patriotas." (¡Pero réquete-réquete patriotas!)
- Tea Party ‘patriots’ urge Americans to deport themselves, National Post (Canada)
- Americans for Patriotic Self-Deportation, Slate
- Site mocks Romney on 'self-deport' comment, UPI
- Self-deportation cruel and unjust, The Western Courier
- Are You an Anchor Baby Too?, Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Beast
- Candidates on the Border, William Finnegan, The New Yorker
Highlights from the site:
What is Patriots for Self-Deportation?
Patriots for Self-Deportation is a grassroots movement that calls awareness to the threats that our beloved nation, the United States of America, faces from illegal immigration. Patriots for Self-Deportation represents the voice of the true owners of the United States: WE THE PEOPLE.
We believe in individual responsibility in the face of legislative inaction on the issue of birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants ( the anchor baby problem). We urge all true patriots to set the example of responsible citizenship by proving their own rights to be a here in this great nation, America.
What should I do if I learn that my ancestors came to or stayed in America illegally?
It is your responsibility as a Patriot to uphold the laws of this country. You can be a more effective deterrent to illegal immigration than even a border wall or border drones. Stopping illegal immigration starts with you.
The first step is to do your research and verify that you (or your ancestor) can be verified as an anchor baby. Once you know for sure, then you can begin researching your options. You can apply for proper citizenship, but it is best to do this from the country where your illegal ancestor was born. Please visit How to Self-Deport for more detailed instructions. You can also e-mail us here with your questions or to find a Patriots for Self-Deporation mentor.
Do aunts and uncles count? Or does Baby Zero have to be a direct, immediate ancestor?
Since our premise is that birthright citizenship for children of illegals is illegal citizenship, only those Americans directly benefitting from an anchor baby ancestor should self-deport. Usually, the OAB is a parent, grandparent or great-grandparent. However, if your citizenship is a direct result of an anchor baby relative twice- or thrice-removed (who may have, for instance, requested your immediate ancestors to come to the USA, eventually resulting in their citizenship), then we do believe the right thing would be to self-deport.
What is an “OAB,” or “Baby Zero”?
OAB stands for “Original Anchor Baby”, also known as “Baby Zero.” The term refers to the first person in your family who was born in the USA to an illegal parent, and received automatic citizenship nevertheless.
I’m not illegal. What can I do?
Get the word out to your friends! Post links to our website on your Facebook and twitter feeds. It is likely that you have friends whose ancestors came here illegally, but most people don’t realize that they can do something about it. Stopping illegal immigration doesn’t only mean staying at home and worrying about magnets and entitlements. It means standing up for what is right.
If you live in the DC area, join us every first Tuesday of the month for our “14th Amendment’s Got to Go” rallies, starting at 4 PM in front of the Lincoln Memorial and marching to the White House.
Please contact your local Patriots for Self-Deportation chapter for events near you.
I heard that you’re an anchor baby only if your mother was an illegal, but not your father. Is this true?
No. Although the American Heritage dictionary definition defines it as ”a child born to a non-citizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil; especially such a child born to parents seeking to secure eventual citizenship for themselves, and often other members of their family” (they later changed their mind and endorsed the liberal agenda, see this blog post for more info), we believe that if any of your parents was in the US illegally at the time of your birth, you are an anchor baby.
Who can be a member of Patriots for Self-Deportation?
We believe that the responsibility of our beloved nation is entrenched within the hearts of true American Patriots from every race, religion, national origin, and walk of life who share a common belief in the values which made and keep our beloved nation great. We serve as a beacon to the masses that have lost their way, a light illuminating the path to the original intentions of our Founding Fathers.
We have members in 32 states and over 18 countries, both legal citizens and illegal immigrants. We accept as members all illegals, Baby Zeros, descendants of anchor babies, and any American who believes their citizenship was acquired illegally, provided that they are willing to do the RIGHT thing and self-deport.
How can I join Patriots for Self-Deportation?
Is this movement real?
Absolutely. Since Romney’s endorsement of our concept, (ok not quite our concept, but he used the word), we’ve received a number of inquiries about the legitimacy of our movement and our mission. “But you’re a legal citizen,” incredulous reporters insist, “why would you do such a radical thing?” We want there to be no doubt that our convictions run deep. In fact, they run deeper than Romney’s, since we expect everyone to adhere to the law. We don’t just talk the anchor baby talk— we walk the walk. Back to Europe.
See also: YOUR STORIES OF SELF-DEPORTATION (testimonials).