The Real Story: Anchor Babies
Updated September 27, 2006
Senator John Warner has blocked an attempt by some prominent Republican Sentors to add a few illegal immigration provisions -- like the 700 mile "just go around me" fence to a defense bill that's coming up for a Senate vote soon. It's now looking more and more like, once again, NO immigration bills will be voted on before the Senate is supposed to adjourn on October 6. By the way, is anyone looking into these guys' vacation schedules? They had virtually the entire month of August off and now they're going to adjourn in early October? It's no wonder nothing ever gets passed.
Anyway, the Real Story tonight is that even if this bill were to pass and the fence magically appeared overnight, we'd still be stuck with a major roadblock in the way of ever really fixing the problem...the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
That Amendment, which was debated and ratified back in the 1860's, says that, quote "All persons born or naturalized in the United States...are citizens of the United States."
Sounds simple enough, until you consider that in the 1860's the biggest thing on Congress's mind was slavery. The Supreme Court had ruled that the children of slaves could never become U.S. citizens and Congress wanted to change that.
Wait a second -- the "infallible" Supreme Court may have made a mistake?
...And our Congress can fix it!? Wow, maybe they should try using that little superpower a bit more often.
Now, nearly 140 years after the Amendment was ratified, it has nothing to do with the children of slaves anymore. Now it's all about the children of illegal immigrants. Some estimates say that as many as 10%, or over 400,000, of all babies born in the U.S. are to illegal immigrant parents.
The kids are sometimes called "Anchor Babies" because they can petition the government to make their parents citizens once they reach age 21 which has lead many people to suspect their parent's conceive them simply to get themselves citizenship. In Los Angeles, nearly 100,000 children of illegal immigrants received free government aid this past January. That cost the city $23 million dollars. Again, that's one month...in one city.
Aside from Canada and Mexico, the U.S. is one of the only modernized Western countries that allows for birthright citizenship. Try it in the U.K., France or Germany and they'll say either "tough luck" or "send us an application and we'll get back to you."
Over the years there've been a lot of attempts to change the 14th Amendment, but they've all failed since no politician really wants to be seen as "hating newborns" or, quite honestly, be called a racist for helping to repeal something that's so strongly associated with helping African Americans.