The first day of media coverage of Donald Trump's new stand against birthright citizenship has mostly included misinformation and faulty analysis.
Here are the big facts that need to emerge to clear up the confusion that many in the media (especially on TV) are sowing:
No. 1: Anchors, not enticements, are main problem of birthright citizenship
The straw man that many set up is that the argument against birthright citizenship is based on the belief that it is a major enticement for illegal immigration.
Yes, there are egregious examples of "birth tourism" in which foreign citizens pay big money to have a baby in the United States so it can later be sent back to the U.S. to attend schools as a U.S. citizen. And some do have babies here so that two decades later that "baby" can petition to make parents and other relatives legal immigrants to the U.S.
But the number of people involved is a tiny fraction of the total flow of visa overstayers and illegal border crossers. The media are right to say that very few foreign citizens become illegal aliens so they can have a baby in the U.S. to become a U.S. citizen.
The big problem of birthright citizenship is that the babies who are born to illegal aliens (who already are settled in the U.S.) become anchors who keep their illegally present parents from leaving the U.S. and going back home. Pres. Obama proved this in 2014 with his DAPA executive action that offered work permits and legal residency to millions of illegal aliens because they had children who are U.S. citizens based on birthright citizenship.
For years, the open-borders advocates -- and many in the media -- have accused us of making up stuff when we used the term "anchor baby." We now have Pres. Obama as the prime witness for our defense.
No. 2: Not clearly in the Constitution (but Supreme Court will decide)
It is totally unacceptable journalistic practice for reporters to state without attribution that the Constitution requires giving citizenship to the births of tourists, foreign students, temporary foreign workers and illegal aliens.
When there is so much academic and legal expertise making the case that the Constitution requires no such thing, journalists are obligated to state what is clearly true: Constitutional experts are divided on this issue.
We at NumbersUSA believe the evidence is strongest as presented by experts who believe Congress can pass a simple law to end birthright citizenship -- just as governments of many countries have done in recent years. But we also know that such a law will be immediately taken to the Supreme Court. This is an issue that deserves a clear and modern ruling. If we should lose at that level, then we will have to take a look at the constitutional amendment process, but not until then.
No. 3: Trump not first candidate arguing against birthright citizenship
I've been fielding media calls all day. Some reporters seemed to think Trump was breaking new ground or essentially alone on this issue.
But Trump, in opposing birthright citizenship, is following these candidates who had already taken the position:
And when asked about Trump's new position on birthright citizenship, SCOTT WALKER said he also opposes it.
(Keep up with where each of the 21 Presidential Hopefuls stand on Birthright Citizenship and nine other immigration categories at: www.NumbersUSA.com/2016.)
No. 4: Eliminating birthright citizenship would not fill the nation with millions of people "without a country" -- unless we intend to continue to promote mass illegal immigration.
Reporters like to cite reports from immigration expansionists that project millions of "limbo" residents in the first decades after ending birthright citizenship. But these studies are based on illegal immigration continuing to be allowed by our government.
It is also important to note that every advanced nation in the world except the U.S. and Canada that had birthright citizenship has gotten rid of it. I've not seen any evidence that any of those countries is considering re-instating it because of problems like the "studies" purport will occur.
I've never heard of any elected official or major organization who has suggested taking away U.S. citizenship from the people in this country who already were given it as anchor babies. That is another false alarm I've seen in some media reports.
ELIMINATING BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP IS NECESSARY FOR A MORE OPEN POLICY TOWARD THE REST OF THE WORLD
NumbersUSA wants to see a United States that is MORE open to foreign visitors.
But that can only happen if the citizens of this country can be assured that the visitors will honor the promises they make when they receive their visas -- especially about when they will return home.
Here is what we have long stated on our website:
Minimizing Illegal Immigration & Maximizing Openness to Visitors
Ending most illegal immigration and making it easier for more people to legally study, tour and visit relatives in this country for extended periods requires that the government:
1. Mandate electronic verification systems that would effectively deny jobs and taxpayer-provided benefits to foreign citizens who are visitors or who are illegally present.
2. Fully implement computerized entry/exit systems that track when visitors have violated their visas.
3. Join most nations of the world in eliminating birthright citizenship for births to both legal and illegal visitors.
It is disconcerting to see the alarmism of so many in the media about the fact that birthright citizenship is being brought up for a policy discussion. Let's get rid of the misinformation and straw men arguments and have a calm discussion about what we need as a country.
ROY BECK is Founder & President of NumbersUSA
Updated: Fri, Feb 19th 2016 @ 10:31am EST