At Numbers USA, anti-illegal immigration think tank, the primary concern is the automatic citizenship offered to these children and, more indirectly, their parents. It says the 14th Amendment — essentially granting citizenship to any child born on American soil — is being misinterpreted to include the children of illegal immigrants.

The children, often referred to as "anchor babies,” provide an enticement for illegal immigration into the U.S, said Rosemary Jenks, director of government relations for the group.

"The fact is that when the child turns 18, they can then sponsor their relatives for permanent U.S. residency,” Jenks said. "I know that's a long way off... but there are people who come here just to have children on U.S. soil.”

It is estimated that 300,000 U.S. citizens are born annually to illegal alien parents. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority reports it is delivering 2,767 babies each year to illegal parents.

Though NumbersUSA disputes the validity of citizenship being granted to those children, it stops short of saying the government should deny prenatal care.

"The enticement is the citizenship, not the prenatal care,” Jenks said. "Would we deny prenatal services to pregnant, undocumented women? No,” Jenks said. "There are just some things that as a civilized society we are compelled to do.”
Illegal Immigration

Updated: Wed, Jun 18th 2008 @ 1:40pm EDT