Treason Lobby Does Damage Control on Birthright Citizenship

Washington Watcher, VDARE, July 5, 2010

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Recently, both the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune ran simultaneous Op Eds defending birthright citizenship–by Harvard Professor Edward Schumacher-Matos, an immigrant (formerly illegal) from Colombia; and libertarian Steve Chapman, respectively. Both appear to be getting their misinformation from the same talking points, as their columns were nearly identical. [Denying citizenship for illegal immigrants’ children is a bad idea, by Edward Schumacher-Matos, Washington Post, June 27, 2010. Citizenship Should Remain a Birthright, by Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune, June 27, 2010.]

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Myth 1: The term “Anchor Baby” is improper, because you cannot sponsor your parents until you are 21.

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WW refutation: Given U.S. failure to enforce immigration law, it is not unreasonable for an illegal alien to assume that they can live here illegally for 21 years and then receive sponsorship from their US Citizen children.

Indeed, I could accuse Chapman of racism for assuming that Mexicans have short time horizons–Seattle Public Schools list having long time horizons as a form of “cultural racism”.

However, it is not family sponsorship that makes the children of illegal aliens “anchor babies”–it’s the fact that it then becomes incredibly difficult to remove their parents.

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Of course family reunification can occur on both sides of the border. But the anchor baby provision is an enormous incentive for illegal aliens to stay here.

In fact, of course, propaganda aside, American immigration law specifically allows for exceptions in the case of “extreme hardship” caused by deportations.

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With enough creativity and a few dollars, an immigration lawyer can try to make even one anchor baby reason enough. {snip}

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And if that child is also a US citizen, it becomes a pretty substantial anchor to prevent deportation.

Moreover, the same supporters of birthright citizenship are trying to make it even more difficult to deport illegal alien parents of anchor babies. Solomon Ortiz’s (D-TX) Comprehensive Immigration Reform ASAP Act of 2009, which has over 100 co-sponsors, moves from “extreme hardship” exceptions to prohibiting the detention of illegal aliens who have children(any children, not just American citizen children)except in “exceptional circumstances.” [H.R. 4321. Title I, Sec. 162]

Myth 2: Birthright citizenship does not encourage illegal immigration

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{snip} As usual, there are no good statistics on just how many people come to the country to give birth, but we do know it’s far from “miniscule”. There is an entire “birth tourism” industry complete with hotels specifically for pregnant women to have US citizen children.

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But no one is arguing that birthright citizenship is the only reason why illegal aliens come here, or even why they stay. Nevertheless, when we have somewhere between 12 and 20 million illegal aliens living in our country, a few percentage points has a lot of consequences.

Myth 3: Birthright citizenship has repeatedly been upheld by the courts, and was the intention of the drafters of the 14th Amendment.

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WW refutation: In fact, the Fourteenth Amendment is Reconstruction legislation and therefore less than 150 years old.

Plyler [Plyler vs. Doe case, forcing school districts to accept illegal alien children] was a terrible decision. But it did not rule on the issue of birthright citizenship–merely on public education for illegal aliens. It did, as Chapman and Schumacher-Matos note, state that the illegal aliens fit under the Jurisdiction Clause of the 14th Amendment. But it is up to future Supreme Court justices to decide exactly how far they wish to take it.

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Schumacher-Matos goes back further to the actual debates over the Citizenship Clause:

“Go back. . . and read the transcripts of the 1866 debate in the Senate and you find that both those for and against the amendment readily acknowledged its application to illegal immigrants. A Pennsylvania senator [Edgar Cowan], for example, objected to granting citizenship to the children of aliens who regularly commit ‘trespass’ within the United States. The concern then was with babies of gypsy or Chinese parents.

“But Congress and the ratifying states opted instead to uphold a founding principle of the republic that was fundamental to the peaceful building of a multiethnic immigrant nation, however imperfectly. In a world plagued by bloody ethnic conflicts, that concern remains valid.”

Here, Schumacher-Matos falsely implies that the Amendment passed over these objections. But in fact Cowan’s objections were satisfied by Lyman Trumbull, of Illinois who was chairman of the Judiciary Committee at the time. He explained that the Citizenship Clause “will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.” (WW emphasis).

Trumbull continued:

“The provision is, that ‘all persons born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens.’ That means ‘subject to the complete jurisdiction thereof.’ . . . What do we mean by ‘subject to the jurisdiction of the United States?’ Not owing allegiance to anybody else. That is what it means.”

Keep in mind that Schumacher-Matos argues in the same column that it is perfectly unobjectionable for Mexicans who plan on staying in Mexico themselves to go across the border so that their children can have US Citizenship.

Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan who wrote the Citizenship Clause was even clearer stating the Amendment “will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.” [Amicus Brief No. 03-6696, Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld, Center for American Unity]

Myth 4: Anchor Babies do not receive any additional welfare

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Of course, he [Chapman] is correct that the biggest fiscal drain caused by illegal aliens is education and hospital Emergency Rooms, which the courts have unfortunately made off limits. But this is an argument against further illegal immigration–because it overcrowds our schools and shuts down our hospitals–not an argument against birthright citizenship.

Nevertheless, although illegal aliens drain our economy through jails, hospitals and education, anchor babies can still further break our budgets in ways that illegal aliens cannot.

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However, their US citizen children are still eligible for these programs. And our welfare system is especially tilted to benefit those who are young and poor. Anchor babies ipso facto fit the former. According to the Pew Hispanic Center over 1/3 are living at or below the poverty level.

Additionally, the massive Obamacare overhaul specifically benefits anchor babies and their families. While illegal aliens are ostensibly ineligible for the “Affordability Credits”, insurance is based on families. According to Pew Hispanic, there are 8.8 million people in “mixed families” with US citizen children and illegal alien parents. According to the Congressional Research Service, “it appears that the Health Choices Commissioner would be responsible for determining how the credits would be administered in the case of mixed-status families.” [Is the Congressional Research Service Making ‘False Claims’ Too? by Mark Kirkorian, Center for Immigration Studies, August 26, 2009]

Myth 5: Ending birthright citizenship would be difficult to implement.

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WW refutation: This is perhaps the silliest objection of all. No one is calling for retroactively stripping anyone’s citizenship, so birth certificates issued prior to the law would suffice as proof of citizenship. And it does not take much of an imagination to come up with a simple non-chaotic way for birth certificates to be issued after birthright citizenship is abolished. There could be a separate birth certificate issued to children of US citizens and Legal Permanent Residents; or there could just be a box that says “US Citizen” that could be checked on the Birth Certificate.

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