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Rethinking Birthright Citizenship

From The Heritage Foundation:

Washington has apparently rediscovered a legitimate part of the immigration debate, one often treated as the untouchable third rail of the issue—birthright citizenship for children of illegal aliens and foreign visitors. Currently, the United States seems to grant citizenship to all children born to parents who are unlawfully in the United States—a practice followed by virtually no other modern nation. The practice raises a problem in principle because it runs against our deep respect for, and valuation of, citizenship.

Birthright citizenship for children of illegal aliens and foreign visitors is integral to the immigration policy debate because of what is often called the “anchor-baby” problem. Many feel it is inhumane to deport violators of immigration laws with minor children who are legally American citizens. Estimates of the number of people illegally in the U.S. with children born in the United States vary greatly, but most estimates suggest at least several million—far too many to deport even if the federal government began meticulously enforcing its immigration laws.

Since the United States tried offering a general amnesty in 1986, the size of the unlawful population has steadily grown and while it has dipped in recent years, it still is over three times what it after the 1986 amnesty. Yet, an even more telling fact comes from a recent survey of patients from a Dallas-era hospital, which indicated “70 percent of the women who gave birth at Parkland hospital in the first three months of 2006 were illegal immigrants. These Hispanic women had been having their babies at Parkland without much attention until the recent debate over illegal immigration.”

Read the rest at The Heritage Foundation.


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