Ending Birth Right Citizenship Should be a Top Priority for Congress

Published on January 10th, 2013

By Joe Guzzardi
January 10, 2013

Conventional wisdom is often wrong. On Capitol Hill, the political insiders forecast a sweeping amnesty just as soon as the annoying fiscal cliff and gun control distractions are resolved. To hear them tell it, the budget and gun debates, bitter though they are certain to be, will still leave Congress with the energy to fight what could be the most divisive battle of them all: immigration.

In politics as in life, to get you’ve got to give. Since the Democrats want amnesty for each and every one of the 11+ million illegal aliens currently in the United States, then they’ll have to give up something. That’s doubly true if the Republicans make major concessions on spending and firearms.

But therein lays the rub. Democrats refuse to budge an inch on any existing immigration law. In November, Democrats turned down what was basically a Republican offer to swap 55,000 science, technology, engineering and mathematics visas in exchange for ending the 55,000 annual Diversity Visa Lottery (DV) winners. Even though Democrats have long lobbied for more STEM visas, the Senate blocked the Republican bill because Democrats, with White House support, didn’t want to relinquish the DV. If Democrats expect to get anywhere in their never ending amnesty quest, hardheadedness won’t cut it. The DV, a randomly based green card lottery with no true constituency, would be an easy bone to toss to Republicans.

In the first days of the new Congress, another opportunity for the Democrats to show good faith has presented itself. Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) introduced a new bill, H.R. 140, to end the insane policy of granting automatic citizenship to all children born in the United States to alien parents. Colloquially, such children are known as anchor babies—meaning that their citizenship “anchors” their illegal alien parents in the U.S. and makes them next to impossible to deport. Three other major drawbacks exist to conferring citizenship to newborns whose parents are foreign nationals. They are 1) citizenship promotes more illegal immigration, 2) creates chain migration, 3) allows the citizen children to qualify for the entire welfare cornucopia and 4) has spawned the new, craven birth tourism industry wherein wealthy overseas nationals travel to the United States on falsified tourist visas and stay in expensive birthing centers that specifically cater to their ethnicity, all for the sole purpose of having an American citizen child.

Like the DV, automatic citizenship is something that could easily be abolished assuming Congress had the political will. Over the years, advocates have distorted the argument favoring automatic citizenship. Supporters claim that citizenship is established by under the 14th Amendment when in fact it’s pursuant to a federal statute written into the Immigration and Nationality Act. King’s H.R. 140 would amend the act to confer citizenship only to children who have one parent who is a citizen, a lawful permanent resident or an alien performing active service in the U.S Armed Forces.

The stakes are high. The Pew Hispanic Center estimated that in 2008, 4 million U.S.-born children of illegal aliens became citizens. Many of these children will grow up without traditional American values, struggle to learn English, perform indifferently in school and only marginally contribute to society. Eventually, the U.S. could lose control over its demographic future.

Introduced on January 3, H.R. 140 has 13 co-sponsors, all Republican. Democrats have plenty of time to jump on the bandwagon to demonstrate a willingness to barter. But the chance of Democratic cooperation, even with amnesty in the balance, is zero.


Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1986. He can be reached at [email protected]

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