Wednesday, August 26, 2015

"Anchor Babies and Tourist Babies"

The latest controversial issue raised by Donald Trump is the "anchor baby" - which I believe he defines as a baby born to a mother who entered the United States for the sole purpose of insuring that her infant is born in the United States, thereby guaranteeing her child United States citizenship, by virtue of the 14th Amendment.   Trump is questioning the interpretation of the 14th Amendment.

The pertinent part of the amendment read as follows:

Section. 1. 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.

This has been interpreted by some to exclude children of non-citizens or non-resident aliens since these children are not "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States as they are children of citizens of other countries.  In fact current immigration law specifies that a baby born on American soil to a member of the foreign service of another country or a foreign military prisoner is not an American citizen by birth.  Congress can, however, grant citizenship for such excluded persons on a case-by-case basis.

Let's assume that, in fact, the 14th Amendment actually does permit any infant born on U.S. soil to be eligible for automatic U.S. citizenship.   In fact many of these babies, also referred to as "tourist babies," are  not born to "illegal aliens," but to foreign women with tourist visas - often owners of U.S. real estate - who are among the privileged class in their countries, and wish to insure U.S. citizenship for their offspring.

Isn't there something wrong with this concept?  Isn't there something "not right" when pregnant citizens of other countries enter the U.S. for the sole purpose of giving birth to "an American baby?"

By the way, know that the United States is one of the few countries that has such "jus soli" (by right of the soil) citizenship rights.  The vast majority of other countries do not.  Some of examples of "non-birthright" states include Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Czech Republic, Japan, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, France, Greece, Spain, Italy.......and quite a few more.


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