Skip to comments.Anchor Babies, Away
Posted on 09/29/2007 7:47:05 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob
The Constitution is simple, short and easy to read. There is no excuse for any reporter to write about it, without reading it. The latest example is an article about anchor babies in the Orlando Sentinel today (29 September) by Jim Stratton.
The article concerns a comment about anchor babies by Fred Thompson, Republican candidate for President. If you havent followed the illegal immigration debate, anchor babies are children born on US soil of illegal immigrant parents. The babies get citizenship. Then, the provisions for reuniting families kick in, and the baby assists the parents in becoming legal.
It is a serious problem. Even illegals who cannot read a word of English, are aware of the law. Mexican women who are eight months pregnant are dying every month in the deserts on the border, trying to have their child here as an American.
Thompsons comment on the automatic citizenship was, I think that law was created at another time and place for valid reasons, [and] needs to be revisited. The reporters gloss on Thompsons comment, was Citizenship by birth has been prescribed by the Constitution since 1868 -- and upheld for 109 years by the Supreme Court....
The reporter was either incompetent or dishonest. Heres what the 14th Amendment to the Constitution says in its first sentence: All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. Thats the legal basis for anchor babies.
Those who say anchor babies are guaranteed by the Constitution, and cannot be eliminated without an amendment, jump right over the phrase subject to the jurisdiction thereof. Heres an example to explain that, applied to children.
An Australian diplomat and his wife (or her husband) are serving in the United States. She has a child, born in a US hospital. Is that child an American? Absolutely not. Under the laws of the US, a child born of a diplomatic couple is a citizen of their nation, not ours, just as the embassies themselves are defined as territory of the foreign nations, not of the US.
What is the connection between the diplomatic child and the child of an illegal alien from whatever country, though most likely from Mexico? Heres the last sentence of the 14th Amendment, a provision which is common to many amendments: The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Based on the plain language of the Constitution, Congress is given the power in the 14th Amendment itself to pass appropriate legislation. Therefore, Congress could pass a law that says, For the purpose of citizenship of them or their children, aliens who are not in the US legally, or not here for the purpose of obtaining citizenship are not subject to the jurisdiction of the US as stated in the 14th Amendment.
Such a law would be legal, because the Constitution permits it. It would mean a child born in a Tucson, or San Diego, or Laredo hospital of Mexican parents, would be a Mexican child. The anchor baby problem would be over. No more pregnant women would die in deserts of the Southwest, trying to get to a US hospital to have their American child.
Contrary to what Jim Stratton asserts as fact, this Amendment ratified in 1868 provides for this very solution, if Congress chooses to solve the problem by law. His assertion that the Supreme Court has held to this result is equally ignorant. The case he refers to, but doesnt name, concerned the child of two aliens who were in the US legally, not illegally.
I am not picking on Jim Stratton and the Orlando Sentinel. The ignorance they display on this issue is common to most of the local and national reporters who talk about anchor babies. Almost all of them assume, and state, that the problem is built into the Constitution and cannot be changed without a constitutional amendment. All of them are either dishonest, because theyve read the Constitution, and know the legislative power is given to Congress. Or, more likely, they are merely ignorant. They havent read the Constitution; they assume because many other reporters have said this, it must be true. Therefore, they dont look it up.
This is not the first instance, nor the last, of the American press being a copraphage, consuming its own output.
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About the Author: John Armor practiced in the US Supreme Court for 33 years. John_Armor@aya.yale.edu He lives in the 11th District of North Carolina.
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John / Billybob
Are Guatemalans born in Mexico citizens?
That throws a wrench in their machine.
Thank you for straightening that out.
Now, if we could only ping all journalists to read it. ;-)
The 14th amendment is just an interpretation away from changing the law to what I think was the original intent.
John / Billybob
illegals in mexico...are just resting until they can get across the border to the US!!!
Let me get this straight, Thompson was commenting on the law that was passed under the authority of the 14th amendment that allows for anchor babies and not commenting on the 14th amendment itself? And new legislation, also under the authority of the 14th amendment, could be passed that rescinds this law and thus bans anchor babies? And the reporter doesn’t understand this point?
Very interesting. Thanks!
Thank you John. Did you send this to Stratton?
I would amend it to say that any child born of a woman who is in this country illegally does not have citizenship.
Any child born of a woman who is here legally should be American.
As is usual on this issue on FR, I am in the tiny minority.
You can argue it anyway you want but the text is clear.
The diplomatic exception exists because Ambassadors/Diplomats are not subject to the ‘Jurisdiction’ of the US. The classic idea of ‘diplomatic immunity’ — theoritically they can kill someone on our soil and not get prosecuted. Like everyone else — including illegal aliens.
* * *
Is it problem? Of course it is a problem if illegal aliens are doing what they can to have an anchor baby (including dying in the desert at 8 months).
But trying to muck with the text of the Constitution isn’t the way we should be doing this — as conservatives we should treat the Constitution with the reverence it deserves and not take the liberal ‘cop-out’ of ignoring the text and just pretending it says what they want it to say.
“Are Guatemalans born in Mexico citizens?”
Who cares? That’s between Guatemala and Mexico.
I would be in favor of a careful crafting of any changes to the Fourteenth Amendment, because I’m worried about mass disenfranchisement of any ethnic or religious group. Remember, the Constitution is forever, and can be applied to groups like Jews or Baptists or heterosexuals.
Any child born of a woman who is here legally should be American.
In the second scenario, wouldn't that make a child, that was born to a pregnant woman who came here on a visa to shop, legal. And then the woman overstays her visa still creating the "anchor" baby to gain citizenship?
“Im worried about mass disenfranchisement of any ethnic or religious group. Remember, the Constitution is forever, and can be applied to groups like Jews or Baptists or heterosexuals”
If they were born to illegals, kick them out!
Ping. I think you have thought about this issue also.
Mexican women who are eight months pregnant are dying every month in the deserts on the border, trying to have their child here as "an American."
A bit of hyperbole, perhaps?
>>But trying to muck with the text of the Constitution isnt the way we should be doing this as conservatives we should treat the Constitution with the reverence it deserves and not take the liberal cop-out of ignoring the text and just pretending it says what they want it to say.<<
The trouble is, “the liberal cop-out” is how we got to this interpretation that makes children of illegals citizens. That interpretation contradicts the written intentions of the authors of the 14th amendment and common sense.
>>A bit of hyperbole, perhaps?<<
Then I'd appreciate a source that claims that every month a Mexican woman who is in her eighth month of pregancy is dying in the desert while attempting to cross the border.
I'm not denying that some pregnant women have most likely died crossing the border. The part I consider hyperbole is stating that it specificaly happens every month and to Mexican women who are eight months pregnant.
In 1866, when the amendment was written, there was virtually open immigration--hardly anyone showing up at New York or elsewhere was sent back. The authors had no idea of what the situation would be 130 or 140 years later.
I've read that pregnant South Korean women will sometimes fly to the US to have their babies born in the US, then return home--the idea being that the child might later benefit from American citizenship, like in getting admitted to an American university. Obviously that is a far smaller category of "anchor babies" and much less of a practical problem.
I do wonder about putting the 14th Amendment text “subject to the jurisdiction” into play in the political arena.
Today a certain group is problematic, and it is politically expedient to exclude them from US “jurisdiction.” Tomorrow, the political winds may shift, and another group may fall out of favor, with potentially disastrous consequences.
Further, should Congress pass legislation of the kind described in the article, there would undoubtedly be legal challenges leading all the way to the Supreme Court. Thus, the final outcome of such a bill would depend on the ideological composition of the Court, at the time the issue is brought before it.
Dishonest. Or both. But definitely, dishonest.
Great essay as usual. The problem is that the Quisling ‘rat congress will never touch such legislation, not in a thousand years.
As the author of the article aptly pointed out, the U.S. Congress is authorized to clarify this misinterpretation. For instance, persons that fall under jurisdiction of foreign countries (for instance, American-born children of Mexican citizens) are not “subject to jurisdiction thereof” in the sense of 14th Amendment.
Anchor Babies - 14th amend ping
It’s my understanding that this whole anchor baby fiasco started somewhere around 1950 because of a ruling around 1900 that granted a guy citizenship who was born here to two legal people. Did something happen somewhere along the way that specifically says anchors are citizens or did they just pick the ball up and run with it?
John / Billybob
John / Billybob
Hoo, boy! If you're just an ignorant FReeper like me, click on the link for a definition.
BillyBob, thank you for posting this. As I read the original article, I was thinking that maybe this could be fixed via legislation and that a constitutional amendment would not be needed. Thanks for the excellent clafification.
John / Billybob
John / Billybob
Maybe this is too broad? What about the shopping visa scenario of reply #19?
Maybe it should just simply be, "Babies born to those who are not American citizens are not American citizens and are not eligible for any of the benefits due American citizens?"
SECTION 1. BASIS OF CITIZENSHIP CLARIFIED.
I think the text under the jurisdiction is very clear. Can you draft a foreign national into the US military? Can you compel a foreign national to serve on jury duty? No, you can't, because they are not under the jurisdiction of the United States.
“Contrary to what Jim Stratton asserts as fact, this Amendment ratified in 1868 provides for this very solution, if Congress chooses to solve the problem by law. His assertion that the Supreme Court has held to this result is equally ignorant. The case he refers to, but doesnt name, concerned the child of two aliens who were in the US legally, not illegally.”
That is EXACTLY correct!. There are volumes of evidence in what is NOT done or said regarding the AB claim. And the entire claim that the 14th Amendment infers American Citizenship on "AB's" was invalidated by a glairing lack of comment by the Supreme Court on one hand and what they actually DID say on the other!
And YES they did comment directly on children born in the u.S. of illegal alien parents.
OK, here it is. The One Worlders and Globalists all screech abut the 14th Amendment. "Equal Protection" is the chant. But does the SC decisions say what they think? NO! The 14th Amendment does in some instances provide "equal protection" but does it convey United States Citizenship? Noooooo! The SC actually stated the exact opposite. And it is not some vague reference, it addressed the issue of "Children born in this country to illegal alien parents,"
Here we go (again)...
This is the actual text of their commentary on the actual meaning of "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof" which the libs all wanna scream about but the SC commentary is what they never talk about.
It is in regards to the 14th amendment case which examined the issue of equal protection. Specifically, whether the State of Texas can legally withhold funds to schools to cover the extra costs of education illegal alien children born outside of the united states (illegals) and children of illegal aliens born in the united States, ie, anchor babies .
If one actually reads the entirety of the decision of the Supreme Court in Plyler v. Doe 457 U.S. 202 the question of "birthright NON-citizenship" ie, 14th Amendment is right there.
The line the AB's always want to quote is ...subject to the jurisdiction thereof" Plyler v. Doe 457 U.S. 202
Bad news for AB's, OBL's and America Haters, what they think is there just does not exist. It gets worse for them because what does exist indicates the exact opposite, AB's are NOT u.S. citizens.
Ok, let's just have a good look here...
The court addressed (and this is important) two classes of children in school. Namely, the children of illegal aliens that were born OUTSIDE of the u.S. and children of illegal aliens that were born INSIDE of the u.S.
" The court majority found that the Texas law was "directed against children, and impose[d] its discriminatory burden on the basis of a legal characteristic over which children can have little control" namely, the fact of their having been brought illegally into the United States by their parents. "
Sorry, but the SC is saying nothing about the issue of are they or are they not u.S citizens. It refers to the Supreme Court of the United States striking down a State of Texas statute denying funding for education to children OF illegal aliens. It does NOT say they are citizens.
In fact, it does state the following...
" To be sure, like all persons who have entered the United States unlawfully, these children are subject to deportation. 8 U.S.C. 1251, 1252 (1976 ed. and Supp. IV). But there is no assurance that a child subject to deportation will ever be deported. An illegal entrant might be granted federal permission to continue to reside in this country, or even to become a citizen. See, e. g., 8 U.S.C. 1252, 1253(h), 1254 (1976 ed. and Supp. IV)."
Clearly, these foreign born children are NOT CITIZENS.
OK here is the text you will not see them speak of...
Then the issue of domestic born children is addressed.
" Children born in this country to illegal alien parents, including some of appellees siblings, (thus including them in the definition of and as appellees) are not excluded from the Texas schools. Nor does Texas discriminate against appellees because of their Mexican origin or citizenship."
This is NOT saying that Children born in this country to illegal alien parents are U.S. citizens! It is clearly saying that they are MEXICAN CITIZENS. And here is how it is saying it.
Plyler v. Doe 457 U.S. 202 refers ONLY to equal protection clause in the 14th amendment providing protection against denial of funds to schools for the education of illegal alien children. Nowhere in the SC ruling does it state that anchor babies are US citizens. It actually states otherwise.
Children born in this country to illegal alien parents, including some of appellees' >>> siblings,<<< (thus including them as appellees) are not excluded from the Texas schools. Nor does Texas discriminate against appellees because of their Mexican origin or citizenship.
In other words the appellees children born in this country (siblings) are also considered appellees in the case and the appellees of the case are described by the Court as Mexican citizens.
Very clear and very simple. And it has been there all along.
But the libs are really good a pushing a catch phrase and "subject to the jurisdiction" from the 14th amendment is it on this issue.
You have to actually read the commentary (that leaves out the libs) to realize that Supreme Court made no distinction in the case between children of illegal aliens that were born in mexico and children of illegal aliens that were born in the United States!!!
All the SC has to do to settle this ENTIRE dispute was simply state that according to the XYZ (14th) Amendment the children of illegal aliens born in the u.S. are citizens of the u.S., therefore this case brought by The State of Texas has no merit.
Well, guess what those Supreme Court Justices did NOT say?
I do not believe that the Supreme Court just "kinda forgot" to address that aspect of the issue in the light of the fact that they are specifically comparing illegal aliens right to protection under the 14th amendment to American Citizens right to protection under the 14th amendment. And what with what they DID say they clearly indicated that the children of illegal aliens that were born INSIDE of the u.S. are mexican citizens. Absolutely NOWHERE in the decision does it say that AB's are American Citizens.
John / Billybob
Don’t hold your breath on Congress to do ANYTHING on this issue. As long as the Dems have control of both houses, nothing will be done. SCOTUS might do something, but that remains to be seen.
I think so. Of course states generally don't want foreigners serving on juries; but if one did, I see no reason why it couldn't make him serve.
Can you draft a foreign national into the US military?
Many foreign nationals, who were U.S. residents, have been drafted; but there's a catch. The potential draftee can claim exemption as an alien; but generally, if does that, he is barred from citizenship (there are exceptions based on treaties).
I have an idea though. If the meaning of the jurisdiction clause in the 14th amendment were affirmed by court as a bar to illegal births, using whatever arguments to get that ruling, wouldn't that automatically remove the presumption of citizenship for all time, including the past?
If that phrase never meant to confer citizenship on illegal births then no illegal birth has ever been valid.
Does that hold water?
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