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14th Amendment: Cut the Cord to the Anchor Babies

By   /   August 15, 2010  /   Comments

By Jeremiah Jarmin

It may seem that the immigration debate was heated enough over Arizona’s new controversial immigration law, but the fire is really just getting started.  Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) are reviving a push to modify the 14th Amendment, the one that allows anyone born on United States soil to become a US citizen.  And modify here means completely omit.  While any change to the U.S. Constitution should be taken under careful advisement, this seems to be one of the more sensible and logical solutions to addressing the nation’s illegal immigration problem currently taxing social, medical, and law enforcement services.

The 14th Amendment is also referred to as one of the Reconstruction Amendments and is famous for its Due Process clause. It came into being just after the Civil War and its entire purpose was to ensure that freed slaves had rights after emancipation.  The legislative intent behind the jus soli clause – the clause in danger of omission — was to overrule the Dred Scott decision which held that blacks were not, and could not, become citizens of the United States or enjoy any of the privileges or immunities of citizenship.  Therefore, the jus soli clause guaranteed all slaves in the United States citizenship; because they were all born on US soil since slave trading had been outlawed in 1808.

The very author of the citizenship clause, Sen. Jacob Howard of Michigan said, “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.”  The jus soli clause was treated this way until 1898 when the court in United States v. Wong Kim Ark decided that the children of permanent legal residents fell under the clause as well.  But the most significant change came in 1982 when the Supreme Court ruled in Plyler v. Doe that any and all people born in the United States were entitled to citizenship.  This ruling runs completely contrary to the 14th Amendment’s intended effect.  It is quite evident that the ratifiers of the 14th Amendment didn’t contemplate the law being used as an avenue for people from Brazil, China, Mexico, or any foreign country to hop on a boat or airplane to vacation in the United States or to jump the border illegally just to have a child endowed with citizenship.

Furthermore, the problem with the jus soli clause is that it contributes to a subversion of the democratic process.  There is a serious problem when large groups of people enter our country illegally, and then by fortuitous circumstance, have children here granting them an entitlement to stay, as well as allowing their children to play a role in government.  Society is changed inside out via the illegitimacy of ducking immigration procedure.  Citizenship is not a part of natural law.  Immigration laws are formed by the democratic process, but the teeth that enforce these laws may be destroyed by new voting blocs that attain power simply by being born here due to their parents violating those same laws to enter the country.

This issue should be of concern to everyone and should not be just limited to illegal immigrants from South America.  What if fundamental Islamists decided to start employing the same tactics as illegal immigrants from Latin America?  What if they entered the country illegally; had children here indoctrinated with an anti-American, anti-democratic, pro-Sharia ideology; and those children grew up to form a new large voting bloc?

In fairness to children that were born here to illegal immigrants and have lived in the country their entire lives, they and their parents should be granted permanent residency status.  Some of them now are grown adults that have never spent a day in the countries of their parents; however, permanent residency status should be the solution, not citizenship.

Jeremiah Jarmin is a private-practice lawyer in Atlanta who writes and comments frequently about Georgia policy matters.

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  • Published: 1842 days ago on August 15, 2010
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  • Last Modified: August 11, 2010 @ 5:46 pm
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  1. Tina says:

    I think I would consider renaming them something else besides, “anchor babies” Why not call them what their parent(s) are using them for – “meal ticket” “job-security”.

  2. Tina says:

    As a resident of the Southwest where illegal immigration is literally on our doorstep. I am very sympathetic to Arizona’s plight (a situation every southern border state faces in similar proportions) – the massive influx of illegal aliens, from the past and now, who upon entering the country either are or become pregnant and then remain under the care of the government as the law is now applied. This interpretation creates a burden of such magnitude other states cannot fathom. Be reminded border states are nott talking simply about residents of Mexico encouraged by most often by their government to come to the US illegally, they are seeing illegal aliens from places like Argentina, Brazil, Pakistan, India, China, Africa, and other parts of the world. The arrogance of states and their lawmakers in Washington who do not face this massive burden is insulting.

    Consider this, it can certainly be seen why parents in the US illegally choose not to become citizens and for several reasons come to the US to have their children. First upon having the “anchor baby” their medical expenses for the birth are covered, at hardworking taxpayer expense (they make up the bulk of the tax rolls income) under our existing practices of emergency care; next, because the parents have no legal right to work (because they are illegally here in the US)and now have the responsibility of caring for an American and future voter/wage earner they must according to the current government policies be supported with housing allowances as they might not otherwise have good housing available. Next, the parents (because the parents have no legal right to work because they are illegally here in the US) must have more than a just a roof over their heads to survive, they also need sustenance and are then granted EBT cards or food stamps, not only for the American child but the parent(s) and any other family members in the household. Now the parents (because the parents have no legal right to work because they are illegally here in the US) must have more than a roof over their head, sustenance for their bodies, they need medical care as many of the children born in this manner get no prenatal care, so we provide the child and the caregivers with medical care for the American, the future wage earner/voter. Now, the parents (because the parents have no legal right to work because they are illegally here in the US) must have more than a roof over their head, sustenance for their bodies, good medical care, they must be educated so they can become informed Americans, future wage earners and voters. So we provide for the education of the child and any member of the family seeking an education because as a person(s) on public assistance and the parents have no legal right to work because they are illegally here in the US you cannot pay for it.
    Now the parents (because the parents have no legal right to work because they are illegally here in the US) must have more than a roof over their head, sustenance for their bodies, good medical care, a good education (all up to now at hardworking taxpayer expense) they need a means of communicating with one another so we provide them with a free cell phone. Now, the parents (because the parents have no legal right to work because they are illegally here in the US) must have more than a roof over their head, sustenance for their bodies, good medical care, a good education, a means of communication, there are necessities that they must have that only money can buy so we provide them with “an income” or rather we pay them to remain illegal and unemployed.

    Estimated total annual benefits and “salary” for the parents who have no legal right to work because they are illegally here in the US and now have the responsibility of caring for an American and future voter/wage earner estimated $50,000 a year. Oh and that is for only two children and 1 parent accordingly. Reminder: as the government and states have a system in place that any individual, legal or illegal, who is on public assistance of any of the types listed above receives a “raise” for each child born or cared for (regardless of number). This part is unfathomable to every hardworking family in this country who does not use or apply for public assistance. It seems ludicrous to consider that this lopsided form of assistance is even applicable. Consider if an individual working for a company or business would have the right to go to their employer upon the birth of each child and demand a raise to cover the expenses associated with an enlarging family!

    Is it any wonder they are not US citizens and predominately do not want to be US citizens. It pays better to remain illegal and continue to have more children. They can continue to have “anchor babies” and get a raise for staying illegal. I say they should we should put a limit on the amount of aid provided to an level equal to the persons supporting them. I consider the fact that those on assistance here illegally are making a better salary and benefits on their “government job” to stay illegal or continue to have anchor babies than the taxpayers who are supporting them!

    Now one item that has not been addressed is this, if the goal of these programs is to support the raising, well-being, and education of a future American voter/wage earner, why is it that we are supporting illegal immigrants who have no desire to be Americans, have a possibly growing incentive to remain illegal, and in many cases despise our way of life and systems of living, some going so far as to remain loyal to their home country, waving their flags about, and burning or spitting on our rights as legal law abiding, tax-paying, American citizens all under the protection and care of the government and at our own taxpayer expense!
    Regardless back to the point, as many of these illegal immigrants have no desire to be Americans or embrace being American we are supporting them as they teach their children in most cases to believe the same. We are funding at our detriment the demise of our country and its unity. Illegal immigrants for the most part are not able or willing in most cases to teach their children what it means to be an American! Children learn from their parents and most often adopt their parents ideals and beliefs, logic and common sense.

    Also as the purpose of all this assistance is to support and educate these, our future Americans, to be productive members of our society and country, with the goal to reach for the American dream of a well-paying job, a good home, strong family, and an education. Why is it they are not becoming wage earners but rather system recipients and more and more often manipulators. Often these illegal immigrant children are raised under this system seeing the benefits their parents have as illegal immigrants, staying home and not working a regular job or working part-time. In the Southwest, the biggest complaint you will hear is the abuses of the system by people on it and how they train and raise their children to exploit it. It is one reason why there are 9th – 10th – and 11th generation “anchor babies” now living as adults with an ever increasing number of children all on public assistance. And one added benefit of being a generational public assistance recipient, you have a steady income, good credit, and often can afford to buy those luxury cars that hardworking American taxpayers put off to buy until they can afford it! They are smart, they realize the benefits they see the generations before enjoying so many became single teen parents and enter the rolls of those who receive public assistance in all the forms I have mentioned and have learned from generations of manipulators how to work or exploit the system.

    So the idea that some follow that these children are American citizens and we need to care for them so they may grow to be solid Americans, is a pipe dream. We have made being illegal more profitable and provided no incentive for these persons to become Americans. The system promotes generational abuse of the public assistance and among more than 120 million cases annually. The system makes being illegal and on the public assistance rolls more profitable and an easier way of life than working for one’s way and thereby creating a generational sense of entitlement.

    So if the goal of the policies that support and provide for anchor babies is to create future hard-working smart Americans looking for well-paying jobs with all the benefits of medical, dental, and living expenses, the policy is working.

    They have found a well-paying job –”living on public assistance with a guaranteed raise every 10 months if they want.”

About the author

Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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