‘Birth tourism’ perverting the system
Silly me. I should have known. If the Chinese saw the potential, so would everyone else in the world. That’s a lot of people gaming the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to grab citizenship for their babies. Pregnant? Come to the U.S. to give birth and your baby will automatically be an American citizen. Then go home and enjoy life until that baby grows up and decides to seek a job or education in the U.S., or family members decide to apply for green cards.
More than one bill has been proposed in Congress that requires one of the baby’s parents be a citizen or legal resident in order for the baby to become a citizen. That doesn’t strike me as unreasonable. But to date the bills have gone nowhere. Nor have proposed constitutional amendments with the same objective.
An interesting discussion of birthright citizenship on the website Center for Immigration Studies concludes:
Extending 14th Amendment birthright citizenship to any class of persons is a momentous matter because it confers very valuable benefits and imposes very serious obligations on children who have no say in the matter and it also has long-lasting and important effects on the size and composition of the U.S. population. The executive branch’s current practice of extending birthright citizenship to nonresident aliens has never been authorized by any statute or any court decision. The legislative record left by drafters of the 14th Amendment shows that they were primarily concerned about conferring citizenship on freed slaves. While the Supreme Court has settled the matter as it applies to permanent resident aliens, it has yet to decide the matter as it applies to aliens whose presence in the United States is temporary or unlawful. As a result, Americans are justifiably upset with a policy that has become standard practice without their approval.
At least most of the illegal immigrants who sneak into the country plan to stay and raise their “anchor babies” here. Birth tourism is such a blatant gaming of our laws that I can’t imagine anyone here would condone it. And yet they do.
I understand the original intent of the 14th Amendment — making it clear that freed slaves were citizens — and I object to broadening it to mean handing out citizenship willy nilly to anyone whose parents manage to push, pull, or drag themselves into this country just in time and just long enough to give birth. I put a much higher value on U.S. citizenship.
Note, 11/14/2011: Some Chinese women, in order to circumvent their country’s one-child policy, come to the U.S. to have a second or third child. Apparently when they return to China, these children, being U.S. citizens, are not subject to the law. While I sympathize with these women and their desire to have more children, this is not the purpose or intent of U.S. citizenship.