Saturday, July 21, 2007

Anchor Babies

May was a busy month in Washington with all the talk of immigration reform. Quietly over in the House an effort was made to end anchor baby citizenship.

To begin with a definition, the 14th Amendment to our constitution states: “All persons born…in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States…” In other words, any baby born here is a citizen, even if their parents are here illegally.

Hence the term “anchor baby” refers to the children of illegal aliens because they provide an “anchor” for the family, making them eligible for free government benefits and helping them qualify for legalization.

I won’t go into it here, but the 14th Amendment was to make some changes after the Civil War. The clause on citizenship was to establish the fact that children of slaves are citizens. It was understood that foreigners (even American Indians) were NOT part of the deal. It was a court interpretation decades later that included everyone.

Over in the House of Representatives, HR 1940 was presented in early May. The intent was to pass a law that would exclude illegal alien children from citizenship. According to the bill at least one of the parents would have to be legal in order to allow citizenship for the baby. (Or parental military service would also qualify them.)

The bill was quietly sent to the House committee on immigration and added to the pile of ideas stacking up there.

You would think that the Senate would have picked up on this idea when they were debating immigration reform. With all the amendments to the bill, this would have been a nice addition.

But this idea has zero chance of advancing in Congress. Why?
1) It is too simple. The entire resolution, including and the names of sponsors and an ample number of whereases and therefores, is only three pages. No one tried to bury a bridge or a highway or some other pork in the fine print. Nope. What you see is what you get.
2) It would agitate the Latino activists and subject members of Congress to criticism of racism. It would be seen as cruel and punitive. It would not find support in liberal circles, even though Mexico does not grant citizenship to babies of foreigners.

Still, if you get a chance, find out who your House Rep is and give ‘em a shout. It might give them a little courage.

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