Arizona’s Next Immigration Target: Children of Illegals

Adam Klawonn, Reader Supported News, June 11, 2010

Anchor babies isn’t a very endearing term, but in Arizona those are the words being used to tag children born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants. While not new, the term is increasingly part of the local vernacular because the primary authors of the nation’s toughest and most controversial immigration law are targeting these tots–the legal weights that anchor many undocumented aliens in the U.S.–for their next move.

Buoyed by recent public opinion polls suggesting they’re on the right track with illegal immigration, Arizona Republicans will likely introduce legislation this fall that would deny birth certificates to children born in Arizona–and thus American citizens according to the U.S. Constitution–to parents who are not legal U.S. citizens. {snip}

But the likely new bill is for the kids. While SB1070 essentially requires of-age migrants to have the proper citizenship paperwork, the potential “anchor baby” bill blocks the next generation from ever being able to obtain it. The idea is to make the citizenship process so difficult that illegal immigrants pull up the anchor and leave.

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{snip} Today, Pearce says, the 14th Amendment has been “hijacked” by illegal immigrants. “They use it as a wedge,” he says. “This is an orchestrated effort by them to come here and have children to gain access to the great welfare state we’ve created.” Pearce says he is aware of the constitutional issues involved with the bill and vows to introduce it nevertheless. “We will write it right.” He and other Republicans in the red state Arizona point to popular sympathy: 58% of Americans polled by Rasmussen think illegal immigrants whose children are born in the U.S. should not receive citizenship; support for that stance is 76% among Republicans.

Those who oppose the bill say it would lead to more discrimination and divide the community. Among them is Phoenix resident Susan Vie, who is leading a citizen group that’s behind an opposing ballot initiative. She moved to the U.S. 30 years ago from Argentina, became a naturalized citizen and now works as a client-relations representative for a vaccine company. {snip} Vie’s citizen initiative would prohibit SB1070 from taking effect and place a three-year moratorium on all related laws–including the anchor-baby bill–to buy more time for federal immigration reform. Her group is racing to collect 153,365 signatures by July 1 to qualify for the Nov. 2 general election.

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