Friday, August 21, 2015

The Difference Between Birthright Citizenship and Anchor Baby

Section I of the 14th Amendment states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” That language is as plain and clear as you will find. It’s the basis of birthright citizenship. What did the drafters intent? Was it aimed to protect the newly emancipated slaves? Was it intended to overturn the Dred Scott decision, which held African Americans were not citizens? It doesn’t matter! The language speaks for itself. There’s no awkward comma like the Second Amendment. There’s no exceptions, “provided that,” or “insofar as.” The primary rule of statutory construction for the Supreme Court is to look to the words of the statute, unless, of course, Chief Justice Roberts is saving ObamaCare. If they are plain on their face, then there’s no need to look to legislative history. I don’t doubt the ability of clever lawyers to craft a superficially appealing argument against birthright citizenship, or even find a friendly district court judge, but th appellate courts will uphold birthrate citizenship. Thus, the cries to deport those born in the United States and strip them of the United States citizenship are the cries of demagogues, who should know better. They are setting up the American public for a fall if elected. The desire for birthright citizenship for the children led to Hispanic mothers giving birth in San Diego or other American communities along the Mexican border. The financial costs to the hospitals are great. We are now witnessing the growing industry of birthplace tourism, whereby expectant mothers, often Asian, visit the United States for several months to give birth in the U.S, receive the newborn’s birth certificate and passport, and then return home. The use of the term “anchor baby” overlaps birthright citizenship, but usually has a slightly different connotation. Several proposed statutes would give special rights to the parents, siblings, indeed extended family, based on the birthright citizenship of the child in the name of not separating children from their family, perhaps 25-30 in the extended family. The child thus becomes the anchor upon which the family members receive residency and eligibility for American social benefits. “Anchor baby” is becoming a derisive term to immigration supporters who recognize the political potency of the term with the majority of the American public, which is opposed to illegal immigration. Opponents of the term are looking for a suitable euphemism, but as Governor Jeb Bush said: “What would you call them?” The innocent babies are being used to “legally” open the porous borders. I never blogged about President Obama’s birth certificate or joined those questioning his American citizenship because I viewed them as non-issues. I similarly view birthright citizenship in itself as a non-issue. However, extending rights to relatives of anchor babies is different. It is a potent political issue. Donald Trump’s proposal is to deport them all, including the baby. That will never happen in this United States.

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