Anchor Babies Paper

1221 words - 5 pages

How does America define a citizen? The fourteenth amendment states "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States." Because of this amendment, an illegal alien can cross the border, have a baby, and that "anchor baby" is automatically declared a U.S. citizen. They don't have to go through the trouble like I did; All they have to do is be born on American soil. I don't agree with this birthright citizenship. I think that, from now on, all illegal aliens should be sent back where they came from and the babies should not be considered citizens. Everyone who immigrates should be made to go through the proper procedures like I did.In 1868, the fourteenth amendment was approved. Its original purpose was to protect the civil rights of native-born black Americans. They had recently been freed from slavery and their rights were being denied. Senator Jacob Howard, Co-author of the citizenship clause of the fourteenth Amendment, told the intent of the amendment when he wrote, "Every Person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This 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 (Wall)." The United States had no immigration policy when the amendment was formed, so the authors saw no need to state explicitly, what they believed was understood. The phrase "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" was intended to exclude American-born people who do not have complete allegiance to the United States, meaning their family had citizenship in another country, from automatic citizenship (Wall). Jurisdiction is the power, right, or authority to interpret and apply the law: the limits or territory within which authority may be exercised (Mount). The amendment was not originally meant to give citizenship to children of people who had entered the country illegally.Some conservatives in Congress, and some advocacy groups seeking to crack down on unlawful immigration, say the amendment is being misapplied, that it was never intended to grant citizenship automatically to babies of illegal immigrants. They argue that federal legislation, rather than a difficult-to-achieve constitutional amendment, would end birthright citizenship (Crary). The Citizenship Reform Act of 2005 was introduced by Rep. Nathan Deal. The purpose of this Act is to deny automatic citizenship at birth to children born in the United States to parents who are not citizens or permanent resident aliens.Illegal immigration has increased significantly in the last decade. Roughly 10 percent of births in the United States, or close to 400,000 a year, are babies born to illegal immigrants (Crary). Medical facilities are prohibited from asking about the legal status of the patients because it is confidential. Once the children are born, the mothers most likely will not be deported. When he turns 21, he can sponsor his relatives for permanent residency. This is why they are known as anchor babies, because they can become a United States anchor for their families. Whole industries have now developed around abusing the Fourteenth Amendment. Pregnant tourists come to the U.S. on travel visas to have their anchor babies. Coyotes are paid $1,500 to $25,000 per person to shuttle pregnant illegal aliens across our southern border (Crary).Most of these people don't have much money and they are entitled to welfare benefits. That means our tax dollars pay the illegal immigrants to have babies. By not closing this loophole in the amendment, the federal government in effect rewards law-breakers and punishes those who have chosen to follow the rules and immigrate legally. The state of California has a particularly liberal program to reward illegal aliens which includes free pre-natal care and delivery, and it's no surprise that 60% of babies born in LA community hospitals are born to illegals (Wall). The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons estimates that about 84 California hospitals have closed as a result of the rising number of illegal aliens and their non-reimbursed tax on the system. Between 1993 and 2003, 60 California hospitals closed because half of their services became unpaid, another 24 California hospitals are on the verge of closure. They can't carry the costs they are forced to bear to make to care for sick and injured illegals (Dougherty).Only a few European countries still grant automatic citizenship at birth. In Germany the children of guest workers are not citizens, which creates enormous social and racial tensions (Crary). The Irish Supreme Court recently ruled that immigrant parents could be deported even if they have an Irish child (Putnam). Also, the United Kingdom and Australia repealed this policy of birthright citizenship in the 1980s after seeing abuses like the U.S. is today (Crary). The United States should follow in the example of all these other countries.There are some other views on birthright citizenship. Some people say that the revenues they help produce far outweigh the cost of their immigration and that immigrants increase our productivity. Throughout our history, those who have left their homeland to come here have been the best, the most ambitious. Also, their income taxes pay for the retirement of people by increasing the number of workers per retiree. Immigrants do raise our efficiency because people from Mexico take jobs that American citizens wouldn't want. I don't think it is possible for the revenues they help produce to outweigh the cost of their immigration. Even if immigration is good for America it should be done legally.I think that the 14th amendment has been misapplied. The illegal immigrants are taking advantage of the United States at the cost of the taxpayers. These policies are not fair to the citizens of America, and to the people, like my family, who worked hard and paid thousands of dollars to be permanent residents. Although I don't approve of them entering the United States illegally, I do not want the anchor babies who have spent their entire lives in the states to be forced to leave their homes. In my opinion, the rules ought to be changed and all of the illegal immigrants should be sent back to their own countries from now on.Works CitedCrary, David. "Outcry over birthright citizenship." The Seattle Times 24 Dec. 2005. The Seattle Times. 23 January 2006 Dougherty, Jon E. "Anchors Away." 11 May 2005. The American Daily. 26 January 2006 Mount, Steve. "Constitutional Topic: Martial Law." 30 Nov 2001. 24 January 2006 Putnam, George. "One Reporter's Opinion - Anchor Babies." 31 July 2004. 26 January 2006Wall, Allan. "Anchor Babies." 26 April 2001. Front Page Magazine. 23 Jan. 2006


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