Arizona’s Next Step On Immigration: Banning “Anchor Babies”
The author of Arizona’s controversial immigration enforcement law is preparing for the next step in his crusade, and it promises to be even more controversial than the recently passed law:
The author of Arizona’s controversial immigration law is considering a new proposal that would block the children of illegal immigrants from becoming citizens if they are born in the United States.
Critics of the bill Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce is weighing say it would fly in the face of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which grants citizenship to anyone born within the country.
Pearce has been hinting for months that he may introduce legislation targeting so-called “anchor babies” but had not detailed his plan until an interview last week with Time magazine.
“This is an orchestrated effort by them to come here and have children to gain access to the great welfare state we’ve created,” Pearce said of Hispanic immigrants.
Pearce contended that the bill would not violate the 14th Amendment, saying only that “we would write it right.”
It’s difficult to see how that could be possible given the clear language of Section One of the 14th Amendment:
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
[T]he Fourteenth Amendment affirms the ancient and fundamental rule of citizenship by birth within the territory, in the allegiance and under the protection of the country, including all children here born of resident aliens, with the exceptions or qualifications (as old as the rule itself) of children of foreign sovereigns or their ministers, or born on foreign public ships, or of enemies within and during a hostile occupation of part of our territory, and with the single additional exception of children of members of the Indian tribes owing direct allegiance to their several tribes. The Amendment, in clear words and in manifest intent, includes the children born, within the territory of the United States, of all other persons, of whatever race or color, domiciled within the United States. Every citizen or subject of another country, while domiciled here, is within the allegiance and the protection, and consequently subject to the jurisdiction, of the United States.
The evident intention, and the necessary effect, of the submission of this case to the decision of the court upon the facts agreed by the parties were to present for determination the single question stated at the beginning of this opinion, namely, whether a child born in the United States, of parent of Chinese descent, who, at the time of his birth, are subjects of the Emperor of China, but have a permanent domicil and residence in the United States, and are there carrying on business, and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the Emperor of China, becomes at the time of his birth a citizen of the United States.
This interpretation is supported by statements made by at least one of the framers of the 14th Amendment:
The author of the 14th Amendment, Senator Jacob Merritt Howard of Michigan proposed the addition of the jurisdiction phrase and stated that it tracked what he believed was already the law of the land. As such, he stated, “This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the family of ambassadors, or foreign ministers accredited to the the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.”
In other words, the children born in the United States are citizens regardless of the citizenship status of their parents, the one exception being children of diplomats.
Despite the clear language of the 14th Amendment, though, Arizona seems prepared to take this radical step, as indicated by the comments of Governor Jan Brewer this weekend when she said that people who are here illegally can just take their children with them when they leave, regardless of the child’s citizenship status:
For those of us who viewed the Arizona law as dangerous not just because of it’s content, but because of the slippery slope it represented, this would seem to stand as confirmation that we were right.