The 14th Amendment and "Anchor Babies": should it be changed/repealed?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Obi-Ewan, Aug 15, 2010.

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  1. Obi-Ewan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2000
    star 4
    My apologies if this has been discussed, I check the most recent threads and didn't see one devoted to this.

    The rise of Hispanic immigration has led many, largely Republicans, to argue that the 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship to people who are born within our borders, needs to be changed to fight the "Anchor Baby" menace; i.e., that Mexicans will come into this country to have a baby, and use their child's citizenship to gain citizenship for themsleves, or at least to avoid deportation. (I dont' think I need to go into the fear that Al Qaida will breed an anchor baby simply to have a loyal terrorist within our borders. Lest we forget, some people seem to think that just such a person currently occupies the White House. 'Nuff said.) The 14th Amdendment is, of course, one of the three Reconstruction amendments that guaranteed the rights of former slaves. That it guarantees those rights is a large part of the reason that many oppose altering them. That slavery itself went by the wayside 145 years ago leads others to argue that the 14th Amendment has served its purpose.

    Here are my views on this:

    1. Many "anchor babies" still grow up to be productive citizens, regardless of the actions of their parents.

    2. The 14th Amendment is not unconditional. It does not simply state that "All persons born or naturalized in the United States....are citizens of the United States," as much of the current debate currently portrays it. That ellipsis is a rather glaring omission, as the Amendment's full text reads "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 part reading "and subject ot the jurisdiction thereof" is a key point. It is the reason that we do not, for example, grant citizenship to the children of foreign diplomats, or immediately to members of Native American tribes: they and their parents, being citizens of another country, are not "subject to our jurisdiction." One could simply interpret this phrase to include illegal immigrants; except for purposes of deportation.

    3. According to Wikipedia (Entry: Anchor Baby), while many illegal immigrant families have attempted to argue that, on account of their birthright citizen children, they should not be deported; INS has actually rejected that argument no fewer than 88,000 times, and been upheld by theSupreme Court. So the argument that they would try to stay in this country with their citizen children appears to be void.

    4. From the same article, modified by some information from the Daily Show, an "anchor baby" cannot sponsor his/her parents for citizenship until 21 years of age, after which it is a ten year process--and one from which illegal immigrants are already barred from benefitting. At best, they can sponsor a sibling, which appears to take even longer.

    5. Glenn Beck et. al like to argue that the amendment was intended only to protect slaves, a problem whose time has passed. Well, let's examine that claim for a moment. Slave labor was used because rich, white plantation owners wanted a cheap source of labor who had no legal rights and no recourse if they were mistreated. While we like to accuse the immigants of coming here to steal our jobs, or give them credit for doing jobs that ordinary Americans just won't do. Neither is entirely accurate. American workers would be willing to do those jobs under the right circumstances: a decent wage, and medical benefits. American employers like using illegal immigrants because they cannot demand those conditions, and will not report mistreatment for fear of deportation. Other than the fact that they receive some small payment for their work, that's not too far removed from conditions of slave labor. Seems to me that the right plan of attack is to go after the employers, not the immigrants.

    6. The 14th Amendment does more than simply confer citizenship. It also includes the ever-so-important Incorporation Clause. "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the
  2. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    No.

    That was easy.

    Next!
  3. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Anchor babies should be allowed to stay. The parents, if they are here illegally, should be deported. The child either goes with them, or s/he is left to an American orphanage.
  4. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Oh, that's smart! What a great idea! I can't believe no one's thought of that before.

    In all seriousness, that's absolutely crazy.
  5. Obi-Ewan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2000
    star 4
    In all seriousness, that's absolutely crazy.

    Except for the orphanage part, that's exactly what happens.
  6. Rouge77 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2005
    star 5
    There's something like 430 000 children born to "illegal immigrants" in US every year. I doubt that single one of them is a part of some vast terror conspiracy to attack US from the inside and I also doubt whether people who want to change current situation have any clear understanding about the vast number of children included or the increases in expenses and manpower needed to handle the situation they want to create. Or the cultural and social change it might create.

    What US has when it comes to citizenship is an anomaly among countries, but then no other country has a similar situation when it comes to legal and illegal immigration; something like 12-13 percent of people living in US are first generation immigrants. Ironically enough, in a country that to a significant degree sustains itself through immigration throughout it's history a large part of the population has always wanted to get rid of immigration. Those that have gotten in have wanted to lock the gates after them, but have always failed, and like now, what they think would result from this failure is something akin to what happened to the original native Americans. A grandiose fear.

    In a way, the birthright citizenship is a way of defusing a bigger problem by constricting the activities against illegal immigrants in US to new arrivals, and not extending it to the second generation. The number of "illegal immigrants" in US would be way bigger than the about 12 million usually cited if second (and third) generation descendants of the original "illegal immigrants" would also be part of the problem, instead of having become removed from it by becoming legally citizens.
  7. MeBeJedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2002
    star 6
    Sure they are, just in the same way Obama is part of a vast terror conspiracy to attack US from the outside.....i.e. Kenya [face_whistling]
  8. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6

    I think that the best option for the Birthers is to try to get the Hawaii Admission Act revoked retroactively.
  9. MeBeJedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2002
    star 6
    Or just finish building the border wall, and when they hit the Pacific Ocean, head north all the way to Canada. THAT'LL keep those damn, dirty Mexicans out! [face_shame_on_you]
  10. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    There are two basic legal principles for citizenship: Jus Soli - the Law of the Land, which indicates that anyone born on that soil is a citizen, or Jus Sanguinus - the Law of the Blood, which stipulates that those who are tied to the nation by Blood are citizens. The US has been a bastion for Jus Soli, while Europe has mostly relied on Jus Sanguinus (see Germany, for instance). The problem with Jus Sanguinus is that it has created a very ethnicized conception of the Nation and nationhood, an inherently exclusionary one, and the consequences of that had been quite clear in European history, which is also why most nations in Europe has started moving away from Jus Sanguinus.

    It is hugely concerning to now see leading Republicans advocating for abandoning Jus Soli and, by implication, ethnifying the conceptualization of the American nation. It's a slippery slope, and it leads to increased segregation and exclusion. Glenn Beck is...scary and that people listen to that demagogue is even scarier.
  11. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    Fourteenthers, Thirteenthers, Birthers...

    You know for a cluster of loosely knit groups who declare at the tops of their lungs that they believe in preserving Constitution, these fellows and dames sure have a funny way of showing it.
  12. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    What's crazy about that?

    If we're serious about letting these kids be citizens, we should be willing to take care of them if their criminal parents abandon them here.

    "Sneak in and pop out a baby and you get to cut to the front of the immigration queue" is not a good policy. Why should anyone bother trying to go through the proper channels if we're going to make it so much easier to cheat? And even leaving aside the immigration law issue for a moment, we shouldn't be encouraging people to breed when we're already facing a national and global overpopulation crisis.
  13. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    And the point of this particular policy I suggested was really more of a preventive measure than anything else. Make it clear that anchor babies won't save them and they'll not use children as an excuse to stay illegally. And besides, I'm not sure whether parents would be so willing abandon their children like that. If they can't find an orphanage that can accept their children, then the only option left for them is to return with them. So it's not like you'll get swarms of children infesting homes intended to support a few at a time... the American orphanage system should not be expected to provide for more little gargoyles than they can handle.

    (By 'gargoyles,' I mean 'children' in general. Not children of any particular race.)
  14. Obi-Ewan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2000
    star 4
    "Sneak in and pop out a baby and you get to cut to the front of the immigration queue" is not a good policy. Why should anyone bother trying to go through the proper channels if we're going to make it so much easier to cheat? And even leaving aside the immigration law issue for a moment, we shouldn't be encouraging people to breed when we're already facing a national and global overpopulation crisis.

    Um, read points 3 and 4 on my original post. They most certainly do not "move to the front of the queue."


  15. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    You know, all your woes with "illegal immigrants" could be solved by just changing the legislation back to the way it was before 1914: allow free immigration! Done. No more "illegal immigrants". :D
  16. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    If the 14th Amendment is going to be revised, then it should be done only if it's seriously being abused to a significant extent, not because the far-right wants to dredge something up in an attempt to stay politically relevant.
  17. MeBeJedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2002
    star 6
    ...which is why making/changing constitutional amendments is so difficult. It's also why the 14thers aren't concerned about it ever happening. It doesn't HAVE to happen, it's just to make them appear to be doing SOMETHING for their constituency...
  18. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-birthright-20100816,0,1285561.story

  19. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    This one was always the argument that I had trouble wrapping my head around as a valid point. It's no less extreme then "some people who own guns kill people and therefore we must ban all guns," and yet while even the most ardent supporter of gun control rules could probably tell you that the gun claim is ridiculous, an unsettling number of media outlets and people cite the birth tourism claim as compelling evidence.
  20. Faces of Silas Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 1999
    star 2
    I am not in favor of any such effort at this time. Instead, I would like to see Lindsey Graham repealed and branded as a traitor.

    Any discussion along the lines of changes to the 14th Amendment is premature and unproductive at present. It would be like applying a Band-Aid ? nothing more than a solution in disguise. Americans haven?t had a sufficient bellyful yet. When and if they do and the outcry becomes deafening, I?ll be willing to support it. In the meantime, it is far better to devote energies toward more significant issues and to fight the good fight.
  21. MeBeJedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2002
    star 6
  22. Overmanwarior Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2010
    A lot of problems would go away if we simply enforced exsisting laws. But, because of bloc voting, both political sides are guilty of not having a desire to enforce our immigration policies. So the whole thing becomes a joke.
  23. MeBeJedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2002
    star 6
    Very true. Without all that cheap labor, life in America would get very, very expensive.
  24. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
  25. timmoishere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 6
    I believe the 14th Amendment should be clarified to say that only children whose parents are US citizens are automatically given citizenship. That would eliminate foreigners from coming here, squeezing out a kid, and then suddenly clamoring for benefits. If the kid wants citizenship later in life, well, there's a process for that.
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