Skip to comments.Birthright Citizenship Under Attack
Posted on 09/29/2005 12:16:11 AM PDT by Hushpuppie
Silvia Moreno snuck across the U.S. border from Mexico and made it to Atlanta to join her husband last year.
When she gave birth this year, she named her daughter Scarlett, after Scarlett O'Hara.
Moreno, 26, had watched "Gone With the Wind" and was inspired by the Atlanta heroine.
"She worked so hard. She overcame adversity to survive," said Moreno, who wants her daughter to develop the same strength.
Scarlett Alvarado Moreno, 6 months, is a U.S. citizen because she was born here; her mother, father, and 4-year-old brother are illegal immigrants.
Millions of families like Scarlett's will be the focus of a hearing today before a U.S. House subcommittee in Washington to discuss birthright citizenship, dual citizenship and its effect on national sovereignty.
As President Bush opens the debate on a temporary worker program that could allow immigrant laborers to come into the United States, the issue of what happens to their children has come to the forefront.
Although revoking the birthright guarantee is not likely to be part of Congress' immigration reform agenda this fall, there are increasing signs lawmakers are thinking about altering a privilege grounded in common law and the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
The proposals come in a post-9/11 time of increasing suspicion toward illegal immigrants. Several bills have been introduced.
Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) wants to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to limit automatic citizenship at birth to children of U.S. citizens and lawful residents. Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) introduced a constitutional amendment that also would limit birthright citizenship. Such an amendment would require ratification by three-fourths of the states.
A proposal by Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), who heads a 90-member caucus pushing to tighten immigration laws, would deny citizenship to U.S.-born children of temporary immigrant workers.
Tancredo said the provision is vital because temporary workers would not want to leave after their visas expire if their children are U.S. citizens, or so-called anchor babies.
Moreno, of Atlanta, thinks it's unjust to deny citizenship to children born in the United States because their parents, although illegal, work hard.
"People work so much, and they give their youth to this country," Moreno said.
Moreno wanted Scarlett to be an American because with the blue American passport, "the doors of the world are open to her," she said.
Mexicans have a harder time getting tourist visas to see the world, she said.
Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a national group that lobbies to reduce illegal immigration, said the lure of U.S. citizenship for children is a "huge incentive" for people to come to the United States illegally because it opens the door to many social benefits.
Also, once they reach 21, the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants can petition for their parents' residency. Family reunification often is cited as a reason for amnesty proposals.
There were 6.3 million illegal immigrant families in the United States in 2004, according to a study released in June by the Pew Hispanic Center. Most of them 59 percent do not have children, the study said.
But nearly one-third of families headed by illegal immigrants do have children who are U.S. citizens, the study said.
Immigrant advocates and Hispanic groups say finding work is the major motivation for illegal immigration.
"The only thing that this kind of change gets you ... is stateless people, which doesn't solve any problem," said Cecilia Munoz, vice president for policy at the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic civil rights organization.
"This is not a matter of immigration policy, this is a matter of changing who we are fundamentally as a nation," she said.
The United States grants citizenship to every child born in the United States with the exception of children of occupying forces and foreign diplomats, who keep the citizenship of their home country, said Peter J. Spiro, an international law professor at the University of Georgia School of Law who is testifying at today's hearing.
Spiro said that proposals to change the birthright citizenship have been around since the mid-1990s, but several court decisions have upheld the citizenship.
"It's part now of our entrenched constitutional tradition that all children born in the territory of the United States are deemed citizens at birth," he said.
Ides Mercado, 19, who said she came from Honduras five years ago on a visa, warned of consequences if the birthright provision is revoked.
"There will be a lot of illegals here if they don't let the children be citizens," she said as she pushed a stroller with her 7-month-old daughter through Plaza Fiesta on Buford Highway in DeKalb County.
Daisy Montoya Becerra, 24, of Atlanta has one son born here, one son born in Mexico and another child on the way.
She's glad her younger son has U.S. citizenship.
"If he weren't a citizen, they'd take away Medicaid," she said.
She's also happy her younger son will be able to cross the border freely instead of having to slip across with a smuggler.
"With papers, he can come and go easily," she said.
Are you a direct descendant of your Great Grandmother?
If so, that would make you a direct descendant of a Revolutionary War Hero also. :0)
That being the case, no need for the goats!
"It will cost you 2 goats and a copper pot"
You can have 2 of my relatives, no problem. All I need now is a copper pot.
Solving the problem means improving the way of life in Mexico so that people don't think they have to come here in order to improve their lives and make a better life for their children. That's why most of us are in this country now - somebody back in the family tree made that decision.
So, if Mexico refuses to take care of their own people, maybe it's time for regime change in Mexico. Vincente Fox is not the answer, regardless of the question.
She was my Dad's Dad's Mom, so I guess so.
Cool. I'm a hero descendant. Let the babes come flocking!
I have never even thought about it.
I would still say no. American citizenship is such a special and privileged thing that it should not be bestowed upon someone due to an accident of timing or the result of illegal actions.
"it should not be bestowed upon someone due to an accident of timing or the result of illegal actions."
Say it's nothing illegal, just a nice couple from Switzerland, come to visit the Hoover Dam. Their child Fjork can't necessarily afford housing over here, and he can use "I'm an American citizen" to impress chicks.
One day, when he's grown up, Fjork happens upon a real hottie with blonde braids and freckles...wow. So he goes up to her to turn on some of that Swiss charm.
Fjork: Hey, babe. What say we go parachute off the Alps?
Babe: Ew, get away, you creep!
Fjork: Oh, did I forget to mention that...I'M AN AMERICAN CITIZEN!!!
Babe: Yes you did! Come here and sloppily stick your tongue into my throat, you gorgeous hunk of man meat!
However can anyone explain to me where it says in the Constitution that their criminal parents are entitled to anything just because they gave birth to a citizen?
Every day, U.S. citizens who commit certain crimes lose their parental rights and their children. So why is it any different for illegals?
Regardles of their children, they themselves are still illegal. They are still criminals. That crime should qualify for them to have their parental rights revoked and their children taken from them and adopted by people who are citizens or here legally. Surely if the illegal immigrant parents truly wanted what is best for their children, they would not disagree. Illegal immigrant parents who simply want to use their children as surrogate green cards for their own selfish benefit are a different matter.
That would put an end to the whole "anchor baby" issue, and wouldn't require any changes to the Constitution or terms of citizenship.
Reread my whole previous remark, I included "accident of timing."
Poor Fjork. Now she's just going to beat him with her broom, and maybe step on him with her wooden shoes, or whatever it is those people do over there.
Oh, for crying out loud, the legislation being discussed does not apply to your situation.
The issue is the deliberate breaking of the law to bring a child into the world upon U.S. soil.
The anchor baby problem is very real and an outrage to legal immigrants and U.S. citizens.
What makes this issue so difficult to discuss is people like you who deliberately mix legal and illegal immigration in the discussion as if the two were the same thing.
Sounds like Boxer, run for the Senate dear. Of course we should stop the citizenship scam.
I like your idea, but I think I could settle for:
a - every adult register in some way or lose access to gov benefits.
b - agree to take so many hours of classes in English / citizenship over the next _ years or leave.
c - serious border enforcement.
"There will be a lot of illegals here if they don't let the children be citizens"
Oh, there aren't already?
most Mexican have indian ancestry and were in the "New World" in 1776 BC
LOL. You just included Mexico, South America and all the anscestors of natives who were already living on the two continents before the Europeans showed up.
Also, there were loads of other immigrants (Italian, Irish, German etc) who showed up in the 19th and 20th centuries.
And why pick 1776? The United States Government didn't become a viable entity until 1789. Why not 1621? Why not 1491? (a year before Colombus ever showed up)
That what? That any ignorant redneck can get it simply by being born on American soil and having a parent who was an American citizen? Michael Moore is an American by accident for Heaven's sake! If we're to just round up 'them ones there that I don't like and ship 'em out!' I'd much prefer to round up adults like him who have proven themselves to be anti-American and ship them away than people who become citizens the same way most Americans do (by birth-rite).
I am an American because I was born in the US. Not because my parents were good Americans or because they were descendants of people who came from an acceptable list of countries. I think two American parents can produce really unacceptable offspring but that offspring would be totally legit in your book simply because their pedigree is right.
Why not say nobody (and I mean nobody- even people who are born of two Americans on American soil) gets full citizenship until they're 18 at which time they're sat down and given an interview and it is determined one way or the other whether they are 'Good Americans' or not? This method would actually address many problems Americans perceive with immigration and foreigners living in our country and it would also (likely) deny citizenship status to many people like Michael Moore.
I don't mind honest brown skinned Mexicans who believe in the American dream coming to the US and trying to enjoy the same freedoms that God gave to every single human. I'd much prefer to live with them than to place myself in the same category as a white red-blooded American like Michael Moore.
Does this plan of yours require you to know my specific genealogy?
I don't get your plan. Central and South America are part of the "New World" so how would that effect illegal immigration? I am going to assume you are joking.
I don't think we could amend the Constitution to change the status of born on soil citizenship. But, could it be argued that it is wrong to interpret that portion of the Constitution to include people in this country illegally? Is it not a benefit of an illegal act to receive citizenship for your child born in the US?
I always think of it as a bank robber being arrested but still having the right to the free toaster for opening an account. Poor analogy but just the way my silly mind works.
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the states wherein they reside." -- 14th Amendment of the U.C. Constitution, 1868
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the states wherein they reside." -- 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, 1868