Aug 282015

The concept of “anchor babies” is much in the news lately. The idea is simple… non-US citizens get into the US via means  legal or otherwise, have a baby on US soil, the baby is automatically a US citizen (via “birthright citizenship”), and now the family is “anchored” to the US and can’t be deported. And now that they’re anchored here, they can bring in even more family.

Lots of people have a problem with this, and for good reason. In the US, birthright citizenship is established via the 14th Amendment, a fact I’ve heard a lot of talking heads dispute. Some want to amend the Constitution to remove birthright citizenship for illegal aliens; others claim that the 14th Amendment doesn’t actually provide birthright citizenship for illegal aliens, that we only *assume* it does because the Supreme Court has ruled that way. But there’s a problem… what the Amendment actually says:

Section 1. 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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States” is really freakin’ clear.

Now, you might not like the fact that the 14th does, in fact, provide for birthright citizenship of the children of illegal aliens. But… it does. That’s the way it’s written. It might not have been what the writers of the amendment had in mind, but that doesn’t matter; all that matters is what the Constitution says. Re-interpretting a clearly written clause to mean something it clearly doesn’t mean is some rat-bastard skulduggery and should be wholly avoided. So, what to do?

First option would be to amend the Constitution to simply point out that birthright citizenship is only for those whose parents, at least one of ’em, was here legally at the time of birth. To be blunt… this ain’t gonna happen. Amending the Constitution in a way that would deny a whole bunch of future Democrat voters? Not going to pass.

There is, however, a simpler solution. Accept the reality of birthright citizenship. Accept the new citizens into the fold. And… kick their parents out. This is in fact the way the current legal system seems to see it; a minor US citizen cannot sponsor a family member to come into the US legally until the age of 21. So just because the kid is a US citizen means *diddly* about legalizing the parents.

Many have complained about deportations because they “break up families.” Well, boo friggen’ hoo. If a mother and father make a habit of robbing banks, the justice system isn’t going to decide against jailing them because they have kids. So, give the illegal alien parents a choice: sign over their kid to the US to go into the foster system, or take the kid with them back to their homeland. Eighteen years later the kid can return on his/her own as a US citizen, but that doesn’t mean he/she can bring other family members.

To do otherwise would be to accept that the US immigration code rewards criminal actions. I believe pretty much everyone will agree  that if a law it written so that criminality is rewarded, that law ain’t right. Changing the US code to preclude the *families* of birthright citizens from profiting from anchor babies would seem far easier than amending the Constitution.

So it seems to me the best way to deal with anchor babies is to simply enforce the immigration laws as they currently are: deport illegals when they’re caught. Simple.

Another issue about anchor babies is that a lot of people seem to assume that this is a phenomenon sorta specific to illegals from Latin America. But the majority of illegal aliens as a whole seem to be coming not from the south, but from the west… Asians coming to the US legally and overstaying their visas. Additionally, “birth tourism” seems to be a phenomenon largely Chinese in origin, where pregnant Chinese women legally come to the US on “vacation” and stay long enough to give birth, giving their child US citizenship. And then… they and their child return to China. The idea seems to be that 18 or so years later the kid can come to the US and claim citizenship and then being the process of sponsoring the parents. This seems to be a dubious prospect… why would a kid necessarily *want* to do this? It is at the very least thinking in the very long term.

 Posted by at 3:30 pm
  • Chris Jones

    I’m not saying that that this enters into the parents’ thinking, but one reason having US citizenship might be advantageous to a child living in another country is that the US has a history of taking an interest when other governments have said US citizens in their sights. One example that comes to mind is Eamon deValera, in 1916 an Easter Uprising (in Dublin) mid-level leader and in some danger of being executed. Since he had been born in Brooklyn before his mother moved him back to Ireland when she decamped to the Auld Sod. Since the UK really really wanted the US to enter WWI (on their side), they were amenable to sparing his life.

  • Herp McDerp

    Additionally, “birth tourism” seems to be a phenomenon largely Chinese in origin …

    That may be the case now, although I doubt that the number of Chinese entering this country on airliners can even begin to approach the number of Central Americans walking and driving across our southern border. But up until a few years ago, at least, “anchor babies” were almost exclusively Hispanic. Anecdotal evidence: about a dozen years ago I had a conversation with a friend from my undergraduate days. She had become an OB/GYN working for Cigna in Long Beach, California. She told me that seventy percent of the patients in the obstetrics ward of her hospital were illegal aliens, most of whom had timed their border crossing to ensure the birth of the baby on American soil. She was particularly appalled because for most of these women, the delivery was the first time in their lives they had seen a doctor — they’d had no pre-natal care whatsoever.

    • Scottlowther

      While illegal seem to he having a whole lot of babies on US soil, their utility sd anchors seems dubious. Of course, the uselessness of the concept doesn’t mean the patents don’t *think* it’ll work. Myths about such things are just as likely to be popular with foreigners ad with citizens. The problem is to figure out how yo pay for the problem without burdening the local taxpayers. One might suggest that the local “Minutemen” would be well advised to set up official looking ” Immigration Status Check Ins” in front of hospital entrances. Might dissuade some from entering hospitals to seek services they’re not going to pay for. And beyond that, the local municipalities should seek reimbursement from the feds. How… I dunno.

  • Pringles McGree

    “Accept the new citizens into the fold. And… kick their parents out.”

    • Scottlowther

      … says the paranoid nutball.

      But oh, do please explain why it’s insane to kick out illegal immigrants.

      • Pringles McGree

        It’s insane to have a policy that separates otherwise decent parents from their children.

        • Scottlowther

          So you’d send children to prison with their otherwise decent parents? You are quite the nutty one.

        • Brianna

          Fine. Give the kid an american passport, kick out the whole family, then tell them the kid can come back when he’s 18.

        • sferrin

          Who says the children can’t go with the parents? Oh right, nobody.

          • Pringles McGree

            Did your parents forget to teach you about empathy? Go back to your “Marine Corps” buddy.

          • sferrin

            What’s not empathetic about letting parents and children stay together in the parent’s country? Oh right, nothing.

          • allen

            real empathy would be “we’re sorry your home country is crap. let us help you fix that” but every time we do that we get accused of being a “imperialist nation”.

      • allen

        well, you have to give points to pringles for using the human representative of intergalactic chaos. having Morden call you insane should be a badge of honor, and a sure sign you’re on the right path.

        • Scottlowther

          Hadn’t thought of that. Morden is calling Londo insane… right before Londo utterly and finally defeats him and his masters plans, proving Londo to *not* be insane.

          • allen

            Morden: You’re insane.
            Londo: On any other day, you’d be wrong. But today… today is a very special day! One last time, remove your ships!
            Morden: No! You don’t frighten us Mollari. If you go up against our ships, you’ll lose.
            Londo: Yes! Your ships are very impressive in the air, or in space, but at this moment, they are on the ground.
            Morden: Right. They’re on the ground. But they can sense an approaching ship miles away. So what’re you gonna do, Mollari, huh? Blow up the island?
            Londo: Actually…now that you mention it… (he produces a small remote detonator)
            Moden: NO! (Londo blows up the island)

            of all the characters of Babylon 5..the most unexpected was that of Vir Cotto. he stared right into the face of evil and asked it to politely arrange it’s own demise, for the good of future generations. now that’s balls.

            Morden: What do you want?
            Vir Cotto: I’d like to live just long enough to be there when they cut off your head and stick it on a pike as a warning to the next ten generations that some favors come with too high a price. I would look up at your lifeless eyes and wave like this. Can you and your associates arrange this for me, Mr. Morden?

          • Scottlowther

            Not sure I’d agree that Vir was the “most unexpected.” Sure, him being stronger than he looked was unexpected… but he started off as a good guy, middled as a good guy and ended as a good guy. G’Kar, however, started as a Central Casting Villain, and ended up being not only a hero, but a leader and a religious icon. Londo started off as comic relief, and ended up as a tragic character on a cosmic scale.

            But as for surprising, nobody beat Michael O’Hare, who played Commander Sinclair. He started off as an apparently wooden actor of limited chops… and it turned out he was actually violently mentally ill who got booted from the show for assaulting an actress cuz she flubbed her lines. Didn’t see *that* coming!

          • allen

            Vir always had the “sidekick straight man” job to the “comic relief”. essentially innocent, bookish, and sheltered. it would have been easy, from a storytelling point, for him to remain that way, both as a counterpoint to mollari’s decadence and a touchstone for him to come back to when he has figured out he strayed too far.

            but they did a lot more with the character. staring evil in the face and asking it politely to kill itself…this is not the act of a sheltered sidekick straight man. nor is the “abrahamo lincolni” diversion of more than 2,000 war refugees to safety…an act that if it weren’t fictional would put him up there with Oskar Schindler.

            Vir was a far bigger hero than he looked…an everyman that did great things in spite of his own limitations and all the evil going on around him..and neither expected nor received any credit for any of it.

            as far as sinclair/o’hare…I’ve read Claudia Chrisitian’s book and from what I remember she said he was wildly inappropriate around the female cast (something about “these pants aren’t too junk is too big” ewwwwwwww………) but his insanity didn’t show up until after they had started filming, and he was fine before that. I wonder if it was something environmental that triggered it.

          • Paul451

            nor received any credit for any of it.

            Except the part about becoming Emperor?

          • allen

            Vir becoming emperor was more of a factor of him being viewed as someone who was naive, and someone that could control. I doubt they had any idea what he was capable of or they would have never pushed him towards the throne.

          • Scottlowther

            Becoming Centauri Emperor at that point in history wasn’t so much a reward as a curse. Nobody but the ignorant or power-mad actively sought it out; Vir was more like Jerry Ford in that respect. Made – apparently – zero effort to become Emperor, but wound up there anyway.

            That’s not to say that a hundred years later the documentaries about Emperor Vir don’t constantly harp on how recent archival discoveries prove conclusively that he was, in fact, the most devious monster in Centauri history, playing the role of jovial bumbler all the way up until he “accidentally” wiped the Narn from existence (remember how funny he thought the extermination of the Xon was?).

    • becida

      I thought illegals were deported, American children or not. They were free to take their kids or leave them.
      They don’t do that anymore?

      • B-Sabre

        No, they don’t because of “humanitarian” reasons.

  • mzungu

    If ppl are paranoid about it…. How difficult can it be to do a pregnancy test at the border when pregnancy test are like less than a few bucks at most ?

    • B-Sabre

      That’s not that effective when illegals are here in the US for more than 20 years at a time.

  • becida

    I’ve always though the Chinese had a long term view of things, here we worry about the bottom line next week..long term is next quarter.

    I’ve read of Americans going to Mexico to have a their baby, they are still Americans AND Mexican

  • Bill H

    The key to the anchor baby problem is not the baby, it is the anchor. The anchor is not constitutional, it’s just policy. Follow along…

    A child born here is a citizen. But the rights of a citizen do not include the right to import their parents and relatives to the U.S. The parent or parents that came over and produced the new citizen are not entitled to be here and should be deported. It is THEIR CHOICE as to whether to take the baby with them. They can leave the baby here with legal relatives, put it up for adoption, or into the foster care system. Or, take it back with them and raise it in their native country.

    As a citizen, the baby / child is always free to come and go into the USA. But not the illegal relatives. If they leave it here and want to visit, the child must go to them. If they raise the child outside the USA, when it is old enough, it is still a citizen and can live here.

    This is not perfect. But the problem is not the constitutional citizenship of the baby, it is the POLICY that entire illegal families are entitled to stay here once they produce the baby, and often then to bring to in their relatives. That is where the cost and impact truly is. That is a POLICY that our gov’t could change without amending the 14th. If they weren’t such spineless quislings.

  • Peter Hanely

    You’re neglecting the “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” clause. At the time that amendment passed, former slaves and their children were held subject to the jurisdiction of US law. Is the child of someone illegally here subject to such jurisdiction?

    • Scottlowther

      > Is the child of someone illegally here subject to such jurisdiction?

      Pretty sure, yup. Some Lower Slobovian sneaks into the US and mugs a dude, they are subject to arrest, trial and imprisonment like anyone else.

      • Donut Argh

        Seems plain to me that they aren’t under the jurisdiction. If they were, they would be being born in such a way as the laws of the US dictate, namely outside of the border. Also, being minors, it’s up to their parents to make sure they are under the control of US laws. The first step in following US laws would be to be outside the border.

        • Scottlowther

          > Seems plain to me that they aren’t under the jurisdiction.

          How so? Anyone within the borders of the US is subject to US law… i.e. under US jurisdiction.

        • Paul451

          “Jurisdiction” doesn’t mean “obeying the law”, it means “subject to the law”.

  • allen

    simple fix. make hospitals extraterritorial, like embassies or native american reservations.. it’s not US soil.

    • Scottlowther

      An interesting idea, but some obvious problems. First: jurisdiction. A patient goes bugnuts… what cops do you call? Second: who pays for it? For those municipalities beset by illegals overwhelming the ER, having the hospital suddenly becoming extraterritorial – and thus presumably ineligible to get property taxes from the locals – would likely be a financial boon. But *somebody* would have to pay for ’em.

      One answer, I suppose, would be to make the extraterritorial hospitals free to all. If you can walk or be shoved in the front door, the hospital is duty bound to treat you at some basic, competent level. Doesn’t matter what your citizenship. And to pay for that: the US would use the funds that are supposed to be going to the UN. If the rest of the UN doesn’t like that, the US can simply say “Hey, we’re providing free, first-rate medical care to all the citizens of the world. Wassamattayou?”

      Make sure that the extraterritorial hospitals are in locations that are not easily accessed internationally except by expensive means… say, the nearest airport only brings in international jetliners that are 100% first class. The local motels and hotels can have a dual-level fee system… if you live within 100 miles, a room costs, say, $50 a night; if you’re from more than 100 miles away, it’s $500 a night. The motels, after all, would *not* be extraterritorial.

      • Herp McDerp

        If you can walk or be shoved in the front door, the hospital is duty bound to treat you at some basic, competent level.

        Except for the extraterritoriality part, that’s pretty much the way things stand now for urgent care facilities and emergency rooms … and as a result these facilities often are flooded with illegal aliens looking for free treatment. And that’s one reason hospital bills are so high for the foolish citizens who unwittingly and unwillingly subsidize the people who don’t pay.

        • Scottlowther

          Exactly so. And thus why shifting the cost burden from local taxpayers to something like the UN would make sense for hospitals loaded with non-citizens.

          • sferrin

            I would just deduct it out of the money we give the UN. (Because we both know if we bill them they’ll never pay.)

      • allen

        security would be the responsibility of the hospital itself. they would have their own, in-house police force. outside assistance (local or federal) could be brought in on a case-by-case basis.

        no extraterritorial hospital would be bound to treat anyone beyond stabilizing patients. this will cut costs and wait time. insurance companies would be steering people to these hospitals because of the reduced costs and wait times.

        being extraterritorial also means they would not be under the regulation of the FDA..which is a two-edged sword. an unethical board of directors could take advantage of this, cut corners, and likely people would die from it. but the other side is doctors and drug companies would have more freedom to innovate and try new things. in the long run this would save more lives

        as far as the local hotels…many “medical tourism” packages include hotel stays with regular visits from on-station independent nurses instead of stays in the hospital. it’s far cheaper, the food is better, and the patient is more comfortable.

  • thingytest 3

    You’d be surprised how many Chinese kids would leap at the chance to emigrate to the US. If the parents are rich enough to give birth in the US, they are also rich enough to ensure their kid gets a good education, and smart enough to teach their kids the proper values and skills needed to succeed.