Anchor Baby Category is Broad

Published on August 31st, 2015

Denying citizenship to anchor babies, a concept under heated discussion on the presidential campaign trail, could have implications beyond what is normally associated with jus soli. Typically, the term “anchor baby” conjures the image of an illegal alien’s child or possibly a birth tourism infant.

But there’s an entirely different anchor baby category that’s mostly ignored, but just as detrimental in the long term. Children born to nonimmigrant visa holders are also citizens at birth and receive the attendant benefits – free K-12 education, Social Security and Medicare, to name a few.

Temporary visa holders have anchor babies too.

Most nonimmigrant visas allow the holders to travel with their spouses. The H-1B visa, for example, brings 65,000 foreign-born engineers to the U.S. annually. Any children born during their stay, normally a minimum of three years, but often extended to six years, are automatically U.S. citizens.

Ali Noorani, the National Immigration Forum’s executive director and a leading amnesty advocate, pointed out how broad the anchor baby effect is. Said Noorani: “The candidates in favor of eliminating birthright citizenship think that they’re going after one segment of the American population [illegal aliens], but, in reality, eliminating birthright citizenship impacts the entire immigrant population, whether you’re a skilled engineer or a skilled farmworker.”

But Noorani’s argument, which is shared by Silicon Valley and the pro-immigration lobby, is nonsense. Nonimmigrant visas are temporary, a fact well known to those who receive them from the time they apply. The H-1B, for example, is initially valid for three years, and can be renewed for an additional three. After six years, the foreign national must return to his home country before he can be considered for reentry.

Any temporary U.S. resident – whether here on a work, tourist, student or any other type visa – fully understands that his/her immigration status is provisional. To claim that the child should be rewarded with citizenship (simply because the child was born here) and subsequently a host of entitlements defies logic and is another loophole in federal immigration law that should be eliminated.

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