On April 29, the House Judiciary Committee held an important hearing on birthright citizenship, one of many inducements to illegal immigration and a contributor to explosive population growth, especially in California. Watch the hearing here.
The panel included birthright citizenship opponents Jon Feere, Center for Immigration Studies legal policy analyst, and Dr. John C. Eastman, founder of The Claremont Institute’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence. Also on the panel was Richard Cohen, Southern Poverty Law Center president, who supports jus soli, the concept that birthplace determines citizenship.
The argument, reduced to its core, is whether an illegal immigrant or a tourist’s child delivered in the United States should be granted automatic citizenship and all the rights that accompany that status. In many cases, illegal immigrants cross into the U.S. for the sole purpose of having a citizen child. Others pay thousands of dollars to travel from abroad, mainly China, to enter special facilities that cater to birth tourism, an egregious insult to Americans and immigration law which forbids lying on a visa application. Either way, the newborns receive all the benefits of citizenship: a Social Security number, a U.S. passport and access to a host of social services.
|The House Judiciary Committee debates wisdom of birthright citizenship.|
The children are colloquially known as “anchor babies,” meaning they serve as an “anchor” which allows their illegal immigrant parents to remain in the U.S. Federal immigration officials insist that when a parent has a citizen child, the adult’s removal is next to impossible.
In his testimony, Dr. Eastman suggested that the Constitution’s framers had no intention to allow another country to wage demographic warfare on the U.S. Instead, visitors – legal or not – are not under the jurisdiction of the U.S., and therefore their children must not be considered citizens. In fact, Eastman noted that the Supreme Court has never held that anyone who makes it to American soil can bestow benefits to his children. Watch Dr. Eastman in a separate interview here.
Dr. Erler has said that it’s difficult to fathom how those who defy American law can derive benefits for their children by their defiance or that any sovereign nation would allow it to happen.
In his defense of birthright citizenship, one that ignores loopholes like birth tourism, the SPLC’s Cohen argued weakly that to deny it would create a new underclass in America.
Among the world’s industrialized nations, only Canada and the U.S. continue to grant automatic citizenship at birth. Years ago, European countries recognized the folly of giving away citizenship, and ended the practice.
A congressional hearing is a fact-finding mission, the results of which may or may not be the foundation for future legislation. In February, Congressman Steve King (R-IA) and Senator David Vitter (R-LA) introduced companion bills HR 140 and S 45 that would end automatic citizenship for children with two illegal alien parents. Citizenship would be granted to American-born parents, children with either one citizen or legal permanent resident parent, or an immigrant in active military service.
Please go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to ask your representatives to support HR 140 and S 45.