Whenever immigration is discussed, advocates of immigration (legal and illegal) make the claim that immigrants actually aid the US economy. While that claim can be debated, nobody can claim that "anchor babies" provide a boost to the US economy. Anchor babies are babies of immigrants that are born in the US. Based on a misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, these babies are granted immediate US citizenship.
Some parents come legally as temporary visitors but others enter illegally. In either case anchor babies are granted immediate US citizenship. Immigration officials seldom initiate deportation proceedings against illegal aliens with anchor babies, so they simply remain here illegally. After all what heartless bureaucrat would deport illegal immigrant parents and separate them from their newborn?
Since anchor babies are considered citizens they instantly qualify for public welfare which means they gain access to free medical care, schools, housing, food stamps, and all the other benefits of our welfare state. While the anchor babies do not provide immediate citizenship to the alien family, they do provide an anchor for that family - hence the name anchor baby.
Granting automatic birthright citizenship is a huge magnet that attracts immigrants from all over the world. It is estimated that roughly 10 percent of births in the United States are babies born to immigrants. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1985 requires that hospitals and doctors treat the uninsured mother and baby without reimbursement. That means the taxpayers pick up the tab. California is even more generous. So it's no surprise that 60% of babies born in LA community hospitals are born to illegal immigrants.
How did all this nonsense get started?
In post Civil War America, politicians wanted to amend the Constitution to address injustices to the black slaves. The 14th Amendment was intended to provide citizenship to those that had endured slavery. The Amendment states in part, "all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States..." Unfortunately too many self serving politicians and advocates for illegal immigrants ignore an important phrase in the Amendment. That phrase is "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof."
To understand the correct interpretation of the 14th Amendment we need to understand what the co-author of the amendment wrote about the Amendment. In 1866, Senator Jacob Howard wrote, "This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors, or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons." Senator Howard wrote the addition phrase specifically because he wanted to make it clear that the simple accident of birth in the US is not sufficient to justify citizenship.
The US Supreme Court recognized this when they ruled in 1873 that the phrase (and subject to the jurisdiction thereof) excluded "children of ministers, consuls, and citizens of foreign states born within the United States." Since the court recognized that the children of foreign citizens and diplomats should not be granted US citizenship, why should anyone think that the children of those that enter the US illegally are subject to the jurisdiction of the US government? The simple answer is no thinking person would. The anchor baby parents are neither US citizens, subject to US jurisdiction, nor do they owe any allegiance to the US. Federal immigration laws require aliens to renounce all allegiance to any foreign government and to support the US Constitution to become citizens. The parents of anchor babies never fulfilled this obligation and were never "subject to the jurisdiction" of the US. The phrase "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" was intended to exclude from automatic citizenship American-born persons whose allegiance to the United States was not complete. In the case of illegal aliens who are temporarily or unlawfully in the United States, because their native country has a claim of allegiance to the child, the completeness of the allegiance to the United States is impaired and logically precludes automatic citizenship.
Both the author of the 14th Amendment and the US Supreme Court recognized that an alien mother and her baby are subject to the jurisdiction of their native country - not the US. The 14th Amendment wasn't created to provide an end run for aliens to defy US immigration laws. But politicians have subverted the Constitution and allowed citizenship to any child born in the US. This misinterpretation is not accidental - it is intentional. An error of this magnitude could not be accidental.
The United Kingdom and Australia repealed their U.S. style policy in the 1980s after witnessing abuses similar to those plaguing the U.S. today. Why does the United States continue to allow a practice subject to widespread fraud? Several members of Congress have recognized that the 14th Amendment has been misapplied and was never intended to grant citizenship automatically to anchor babies. But when the issue is addressed, advocates for illegal immigrants will claim that they are racists and want to punish the children.
The anchor babies have become the justification for the entire extended alien family to stay in the US. This insanity will continue until the Congress has the intestinal fortitude to clarify the ignored phrase and deny citizenship to those that are not subject to the jurisdiction of the laws of the US.