Front Street

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

By Gigi

Anyone born on United States soil is an American citizen regardless of his or her parents’ citizenship. The newly minted term, “Anchor baby” is a derogatory term for a baby born in the United States to illegal immigrants hoping that a child or children will anchor them in this country. Now I must admit, I used to say unkind things about these particular people, and they weren’t all Hispanic, Latin or Spanish…whichever rubric you wish to use. Quite a few were Africans from Africa; and Asians and Indians from Asia, etc.

Once that US citizen child reaches legal age, which is 18 years old, immigration law allows him/her to sponsor his/her own parents for citizenship as well as for older siblings who were not born into this country. There are most who believe that US born children of illegal and undocumented immigrants should not be US citizens. Shouting from the conservative right, Republicans want a hearing to discuss amending the 14th amendment which grants citizenship to children of illegal immigrants. Senator John Kyl, a republican from Arizona stated last year that Congress should hold hearings to look into denying citizenship to illegal immigrant’s children born in the United States, as the fight over immigration widens into the explosive “birthright” issue. “Both parents who are here illegally should not be awarded for their illegal behavior!” He states.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a republican from South Carolina said that he was considering introducing a Constitutional amendment to repeal a provision of the 14th Amendment, which guarantees citizenship to anyone born within the United States borders. And that children born in the United States whose parents are here illegally should not automatically become United States citizens. In addition, the Senator continues, immigrants are taking jobs that Americans want; immigrants pose a burden on the various states in the form of education, medical care and welfare benefits and some are criminals.

I don’t know how he plan to get everyone—Democrats including, on board with something that smacks of racism; in addition to the 14th Amendment, which was enacted in 1868 to ensure that states would not deny citizenship to former slaves. It read, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

In my humble opinion, it may be an attempt to turn back 150 years of constitutional history and tradition. The US is a country of immigrants and always has been. And the 14th amendment is therefore clear. Anyone born here, unless you’re a child of a diplomat, is a United States citizen. It’s part of what has made this nation the great nation that it is in 2011.