Much is being made of “anchor babies” or birthright citizenship. The tone around this issue is disturbing.
Here are some ideas to consider.
- The Fourteenth Amendment says that “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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
- Changing the birthright citizenship practice would, in all probability, require amending the Constitution. That would take years and great political effort. It is highly improbable that it can be done. Of course, there is disagreement about this. Litigating it to get a Supreme Court decision could take a while as well.
- Republican efforts to change birthright citizenship would alienate many groups (citizens) and ensure disastrous results for the party.
- Birthright citizenship is a symptom, not a cause. Regain control of the border and the number of birthright babies fades to insignificance. The time and energy it would take to amend the Constitution are far more usefully deployed securing the border. Securing the border actually solves the problem in it’s entirety unless you also want to ban the practice for legal immigrants. Of course, that is how Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal became citizens.
- Beyond securing the border, another real issue is not the birthright babies themselves, but the chain migration that follows. It turns one baby into many immigrants.
- Chain migration, however, is not a constitutional right. It’s a result of statutes, regulations and enforcement. These can and should be readily changed.
- The real focus should be on border security and the chain migration that is a result of birthright citizenship.