Roy Beck's picture


  by  Roy Beck

Over the next several days, we are encouraging the public to press their Members of Congress to answer the following question:

QUESTION: Should a baby of foreign citizens be automatically made a U.S. citizen just because its parents boarded a plane to visit Disney World and later gave birth to the child on U.S. soil?

Right now, that's the law . . . until Congress changes it.

America truly IS the Magic Kingdom when it comes to birthright citizenship for foreign tourists, students, guest workers and illegal aliens.

This automatic citizenship isn't something required by the Constitution as many mistakenly assume. But it IS part of the vast, complex set of federal immigration statutes. Congress can change this incongruous practice at any time by passing a new law, such as H.R. 140 (the Birthright Citizenship Act).

Of course, most of the hundreds of thousands of births to foreign citizens in the U.S. each year are not to Disney visitors.

But the Disney scenario is just one of dozens of examples we could choose to show how ridiculous our birthright citizenship practice is in this country.

All other advanced economic countries of the world except Canada have gotten rid of this foolish practice. (And the majority of the rest of the countries don't provide birthright citizenship to foreign visitors and illegal aliens, either.)


Pres. Obama's announcement of an executive action last November that would give work permits and Social Security numbers to an estimated 5 million illegal aliens established "anchor babies" as a term that no longer should be controversial.

For years, high-immigration enthusiasts have tried to ban the term as being an epithet that also had no basis in fact. How dare we call cuddly little infants something as horrible as "anchors," the enthusiasts raged.

Beyond the usual silliness of the language police, they were just plain wrong in claiming that giving birthright citizenship to the babies of foreign citizens didn't anchor their parents in this country. Federal immigration agents have long told us that having a U.S. citizen child makes it much more difficult for an illegal alien to be run all the way through the removal process. That has been true under Presidents Bush (the 1st), Clinton (the 1st?), Bush (the 2nd) and Obama.

But Pres. Obama last fall greatly increased the benefits of being an anchor baby's parents.

He had already established in 2012 that he would defy the constitutional separation of powers and declare an amnesty for young adult illegal aliens (so-called "Dreamers") who had been brought here at a young age by their parents.

But Pres. Obama's 2014 amnesty mainly added one group of illegal aliens: parents of anchor babies.

Very few people who are illegal aliens but haven't sired or given birth in the United States were included in the 2014 amnesty.


It is amazing that Pres. Obama felt constrained at all. After announcing publicly numerous times that he did not have the authority to issue any more amnesties, he was willing to break his word in an egregious way last November . . . but not for all illegal aliens. His explanation was that his army of lawyers couldn't find sufficient excuses for extending the amnesty to most illegal aliens who hadn't had babies in the U.S.

Thus, his latest amnesty was for "only" an estimated 5 million, instead of all 12-18 million illegal aliens in the country.

It makes me wonder if even a power grabber like Pres. Obama very well may not have issued a new amnesty at all in 2014 if the birthright citizenship for anchor babies provision were not in effect.

But unless the federal courts continue to block the "anchor baby amnesty" or congressional Republican leaders end up fulfilling their 2014 campaign promises to stop it themselves, Pres. Obama will have increased the rewards of the anchor far beyond the old protection from deportation. Parents of anchor babies would be rewarded with work permits to compete for any job in America and with Social Security numbers to open up access to all kinds of benefits.

H.R. 140 would put an end to babies being used as a kind of shield for lawbreakers and would return them to just being the children of foreign citizens who would be expected to take their full family back home with them, just like any other civilized family would be expected to do -- and just like is expected in most countries around the world where babies take the citizenship of their parents, not from the soil where their mothers happened to give birth.

Let's get some votes to find out where each elected official stands. If birthright citizenship for visitors and illegal aliens is allowed to continue, we will see anchor babies used as an excuse for new mass amnesties every decade or so forever.

ROY BECK is Founder & President of NumbersUSA

Birthright Citizenship

Updated: Thu, Aug 20th 2015 @ 8:56am EDT

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