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Citizenship and the 14th Amendment

The birthright citizenship controversy and the burning question of whether children of illegal immigrants should continue to be granted citizenship just because they’re born on American soil.

Maria Ramirez, Joseline Saragoza, 9, and Marcela Saragoza. all of Phoenix, cry as they celebrate at the Arizona capitol Wednesday, July 28, 2010 in Phoenix, shortly after portions of Arizona's new immigration law were blocked by a federal judge. (AP)

Maria Ramirez, Joseline Saragoza, 9, and Marcela Saragoza. all of Phoenix, cry as they celebrate at the Arizona capitol Wednesday, July 28, 2010 in Phoenix, shortly after portions of Arizona's new immigration law were blocked by a federal judge. (AP)

It’s a constitutional right: If you are born on American soil, you are an American citizen. Now, some leading Republicans say it’s time to rethink this 14th amendment “birthright citizenship.”  

They say illegal immigrants and “birth tourists” are coming to the United States to “drop” their babies– and a nation with enough troubles is paying the price. Is it just a political salvo in a mid-term election year? Or should the Constitution be changed? 

 -Betsy Stark


Julia Preston, national immigration correspondent for the New York Times.

Rosemary Jenks, director of government relations for Numbers USA.

Elizabeth Wydra, chief counsel for the Constitutional Accountability Center.

David Winston, Republican pollster and strategist. President and founder of the Winston Group.

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  • michael

    “At the time of the Founders and the settlers, did Europeans needed visas to enter the US?”

    Neat history for ya, the history did a (i think) a series on just that, on the irish in Boston, and showed newspaper articles demonizing the Irish, name calling and such back and goes on to talk about how the competition for work between them and blacks for low skill jobs fueled racism and acceptance by others whites who looked down on the Irish.


    Once in the U.S., the Irish were to negative stereotyping that was very similar to that of enslaved Africans and African Americans. The comic Irishman – happy, lazy, stupid, with a gift for music and dance – was a stock character in American theater. Drunkenness and criminality were major themes of Irish stereotypes,

  • michael

    In northern states, blacks and Irish immigrants were forced into overlapping – often integrated – slum neighborhoods. Although leaders of the Irish liberation struggle (in Ireland) saw slavery as an evil, their Irish-American cousins largely aligned with the slaveholders.

    And, following the end of slavery, the Irish and African Americans were forced to compete for the same low-wage, low-status jobs. So, the “white negroes” of the U.K. came to the United States and, though not enslaved, faced a status almost as low as that of recently-freed blacks. While there were moments of solidarity between Irish and African Americans, this was short lived.

    Over the course of the 19th and early 20th century, Irish Americans managed to a great extent to enter and become part of the dominant white culture. In an attempt to secure the prosperity and social position that their white skin had not guaranteed them in Europe, Irish immigrants lobbied for white racial status in America. Although Irish people’s pale skin color and European roots suggested evidence of their white racial pedigree, the discrimination that immigrants experienced on the job (although the extent of the “No Irish Need Apply” discrimination is disputed), the simian caricatures they saw of themselves in the newspapers, meant that “whiteness” was a status that would be achieved, not ascribed.


  • wavre

    @ michael

    I knew that and those of the germans and chinese as well. But my question is still unanswered.

    “At the time of the Founders and the settlers, did Europeans needed visas to enter the US?”

  • wavre

    On the 14th Amendment, the dependent clause in the first sentence specifies “and subject to the
    jurisdiction thereof” .

    What does that mean?

    Only people with diplomatic immunity, therefore not subject to the law of the USA(14th amendment included!!!), even though they’re living in the united states.They cannot be detained, taxed, prosecuted…as long as they have the immunity. They are here legally but still under the laws of their countries of origin, although here physically.Just like their parents they are not subject to the US law regarding citizenship. Our diplomats abroad are granted the same courtesy.

    But illegals aliens, although here illegally, ARE STILL subject to the US laws(deportation,taxes,arrest,fines, prisons…)

    Therefore, like it or not, their children are americans under the law.

    Secure the borders,change NAFTA,go after the business owners who hire illegals, but please leave those children alone.

    And for the most part, those illegals from Mexico are first nation’s people(from native indian’s origins), therefore more american than the rest of us.

    Just like with”welfare queens’, “anchored babies” is just another excuse to demonize, criminalize and “delegitimize” the “others”(minorities). It’s not solely about illegal immigration. If it was not for the depletion of their rural economy( thanks partly to NAFTA and the subsidies to US farmers), how many of them will cross our border to stay here?

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    I can’t believe this country is turning so foul as to want to abolish the 14th amendment. I really hope this movement dies a quick and undignified death.

    I’ve noticed among the many differences between the right and the left (generally speaking) one really crucial difference:

    The left tends to demonize those people with more power than ourselves–i.e. the rich, corporations, etc.

    The right tends to demonize those people with less power than themselves–i.e. the poor, minorities, immigrants.

    Without wishing to defend (too far) the tactic of demonization, I submit this question: which practice is more or less courageous, more or less noble, more or less cowardly, and more or less unjustified?

  • jeffe

    “At the time of the Founders and the settlers, did Europeans needed visas to enter the US?”

    No they did not need a visa to come here in the 18th century or the 19th. You have to remember if you were poor chances were you could not afford the steerage. If you could you had a good chance of dieing at sea. A lot of the poor came here as indentured servants. People with means looked to the colonies as a chance to make money, a lot of money if you were lucky.


    I have to say this is a sticky subject. I was reading who wealthy foreigners are paying to have their children bonr in US hospitals thinking that their children are automatically American citizens. I read that in China the well off pay upwards of $20,000 for this.

    I’m not sure how wide spread this is and I also thought that if these parents go back to China that the child will lose his/her citizenship unless the residency is kept up. Correct me if I’m wrong but being born here does not necessarily guarantee that parents of the child will be granted citizenship. However that is kind of moot as if these people are wealthy they can buy citizenship, you can immigrate if you have money.
    Which is the case in most countries.

    As far as changing the 14th amendment goes, good luck with that. It can take a decade or more to even get enough states to vote on it. The process for changing an amendment is long and arduous. This more about political pandering and republican demagoguery.

  • joshua

    Joshua Hendrickson and Jeffe make great comments–absolute truth. The right demonizes those less privileged than they–a kind of snobbery. Immigration is and always has been a class issue turned into a race issue by the right.

    When I criticize America my mother always gets angry and says than why do so many people want to come to America?

    To make money. The rich come to America to exploit. The poor come to America because the American-rich have destroyed their countries of origin. The rich only welcome the poor because they need slave-labor, but they keep it in check.

    lets not make it into something noble. people dont come to America because its the most warlike country in the world. people dont come to America because it treats the poor so well–the most people in prison in the world. people dont come to America because its the last industrial nation in the world to keep the death penalty close to its heart. People dont come to America because it has so many guns or it has the highest murder rate in the world, and over 12,000 deaths by guns a year. people dont come to America because the rich bail out the rich and go on vacation flipping off the people.

    people come to America so they can exploit the slave wages–the exchange rate is higher–they can go back to the country they love and be rich, or better off. They come to America so they can exploit the poor and non-regulation–extreme and radical capitalism. I think you will find many people these days prefer Europe or Canada.

    Remember we stole the southwest from mexico, and many of these people were natives–the border crossed them–they didnt cross the border. You could say the same thing about the whole of America. I dont think you have any right to build a fence and shoot people.

  • cory

    To those on both sides of this issue: Have no fear! Why? Because nothing will be done about the issue of undocumented workers, illegal aliens, anchor babies, migrant workers, or however else you like to frame this issue. Many entities representing all ideologies benefit greatly from illegal imigration. Conservatives like them because they are cheap labor for their beloved private enterprise system. They suppress wages and hurt labor unions as well. They also are useful as a straw man in the areas of domestic security and social stereotyping. Liberals love them becuse they are a poor minority population that needs their “saving”. They tend to vote Democrat, and their very presence here advances the liberal cornerstone of diversity. Independents love them because lettuce costs $1.49 a head instead of $5.49 and their presence in the labor markey reduces the cost of everyday living.

    So I say again… Have no fear, as NOTHING is going to change!

  • Ren Knopf

    Anchor babies. What a boutique issue- and a sad one. Of small, if even measurable, economic impact, it strikes against our Constitution and our values as Americans. More to the point, it obscures -again- what is a real issue: the ease with which our congress diverts our focus from their poor execution of the people’s business.
    Ren Knopf, Framingham

  • Gary

    I mostly agree with the comments above, and especially with the very real destruction of southern national farm economies due to NAFTA and the unceasing and egregious subsidies to US farm corporations.

    The illegal immigration and anchor baby issues would be greatly reduced if farm subsidies were eliminated. The government’s obsequious actions toward the corporate greed and desire to have unlimited slave labor is a crime against humanity.

    However, with all that said…I do believe that to be a citizen you should be born from citizens, is a reasonable and sensible law. It is not a racial issue, but (as usual) it will be presented as such.

    I am disgusted by all rational issues in this country being framed as racism.

  • Lucy

    From a purely practical, non-political point of view, and regardless of history, the prospect of automatic citizenship for children born in America has got to be a big pull for non-citizens to cross the border. Then what happens, deport the parents? Break up the family? It seems to me (a bleeding-heart liberal, totally empathetic to immigrants wanting a better life for their families) that this situation can lead to a lot of misery for families down the road. Would be interested to know more about how this actually affects people!

  • Sandy

    Abuse of the 14th amendment needs to be stopped. According to the Washington Post, China provides wealthy persons with birth tours so that children will have access to U.S. services as citizens, although they may not live here. Also, there is no reason a child born of two illegal aliens should be an American citizen.

  • np

    I agree with Sandy.

    We also need to consider environmental impact and quality of life for people who are already here. What made sense when the continent was sparsely populated, does not apply today and will certainly not apply 20-30 and more years from now.

    Will those who are pro-immigration not change their minds until we become a place of squalor and traffic jams like India and China? I would be more inclined to believe these folks if they could come up with a rational condition under which they would NOT support their stance.

    What made sense for descendants of African slaves – brought here against their will, and essentially completely and brutally cut off from their mother culture – should not apply to those who come here voluntarily.

    I don’t blame those that do use the law to gain advantage. Theirs is a rational response, and I do feel compassion for them.

    BUT, I blame our government for selling out to the corporate agenda and NOT looking out for the interests of its own citizens.

  • BHA

    First, There were PLENTY of illegals in the USA well before NAFTA. Reagan gave amnesty to over 5 million of them in 1986 and those had to have been in the country continuously and illegally since 1982. He gave the ‘promise’ that no more will come because the govt would crack down on people hiring illegals. There are now over 10 million illegals, More before the economy tanked.

    Second, the ‘born here’ section of the 14th Amendment made more sense when it was passed in 1868. The black slaves were dragged here against their will. Their children had no country.

    However, there is no reason for that clause to exist any more. If one is here illegally, their children (no matter where they are born) are already citizens of their parents came from.

    Point of clarification for some. The ‘anchor’ babies must be 21 to petition for their parents to become legal residents. I don’t think many pregnant women are sneaking across the border to have kids and hope to hide out for 21 years to potentially get legal status.

  • BHA


    “already citizens of the country their parents came from. “

  • Mary Wellemeyer

    Would it be easier for people in Latin America to stay in their countries if there were less economic pressure on the workers and farmers there? The fact that people who deeply value family life end up coming here, away from their families, attests to the desperation they must be feeling.

    Is there nothing we can do to help reduce the “supply” of desperate people coming here by helping improve conditions where they live?

    Or do we, at some level, really want a work force that will do the difficult and dangerous jobs in meat packing and harvesting etc., at really low wages in really bad conditions without going to the authorities?

  • Sally Strange

    I remember last week, during the discussion on Arizona and HB 1070, one of your guests noted that as long as there exists a large pool of workers willing to work for low wages, capitol will inevitably find a way to exploit that advantage. Under free trade laws, money and goods are free to move across borders, but people are not. This means that the company that relocates from the US to Mexico in order to save money on labor in manufacturing socks is doing nothing wrong, but the worker who relocates from Mexico to South Carolina so that a company can save money in manufacturing chicken fingers is breaking the law.

    Can you please put this to your guests: how is it remotely accurate to call this “free” trade when the only things that are really free are money, goods, and multinational corporations?

  • Brett

    If we are simply employing logic, and we have no interest in any other thought processes, i.e., moralism, racism, protectionism, etc., then we’d do best achieving to keep our individual slivers of the pie from being sliced ever more thinly by preventing anyone who is not a true, natural-born citizen from being permanently domiciled here in the US.

    That said, we are in need of immigration reform. In as much as I have no comprehensive ideas on the subject, I have yet to hear any feasible ideas coming from anyone, political or otherwise.

    Regarding my sense, GENERALLY, of comments I’ve read/heard in the past year or so: for those commenters who feign any real Constitutional expertise in making legal arguments, or who have suddenly become world economists, sociologists, and historians, these practices seem pretentious when applied to a discussion of immigration. At the very least these approaches seem to complicate the issue.

  • peter

    Smart Republicans know that immigration brings us lower prices and, regardless of all the talk now, will be indispensable when 80 million baby boomers are in old age homes. But not all Republicans are smart. Within our lifetimes the Republican Party will cease to exist as a force in national politics. Part of Republicans’ problem is they just don’t want non-white Hispanics to vote for them. When – not if, but when – Texas votes Democrat in national races there will never be another Republican president. But the Republicans also don’t want women, who vote in greater numbers than men (Republicans have allowed Rush Limbaugh to lead them – his audience is 75 % men). They don’t want blacks to vote for them (Confederate History Month). They don’t want educated people to vote for them (Republican efforts to restrict science education). Republicans can pander to their white, rural, male base all they want but that is a shrinking demographic.

  • Noel

    I am amazed that the idea of deleting a portion of the 14th Amendment is not merely suitable for derision. That anyone in high office in this country actually suggests this and is not immediately dismissed as a crackpot and forced to resign in disgrace or else voted out office in the next election cycle is troubling.

    To even suggest that we might define some of the human beings who are born in this country as non-citizens only hearkens back to the problems at the founding of this country when some people (slaves) were not allowed citizenship.

    The fact that some of the people suggesting this are leaders of the party that _touts on its own website_ that they were in power when the amendment was passed by Congress makes clear that this is just dog-whistle anti-other scare politics.

  • http://www.PerihelionDesign.com Eric M. Jones

    Government statistics show only 2719 babies of foreign parents were born in US territory to take advantage of the 14th amendment in 2009.

    Doesn’t this number make the discussion silly? If I made this number up, what is the REAL number? Without an actual number, why are we discussing this?

  • Paul

    These xenophobe conservatives are perfectly willing to parse to death the 14th amendment – but don’t touch the 2nd!

  • Eric

    On the host’s question of “Why is this happening now?”

    Because of the election in November. There are large numbers of jobless Americans. Republicans want to convince the unemployed that it’s the fault of immigrants.

    Lindsey Graham is simply creating a bogeyman to rally against.

  • Eric

    Hear, hear, Paul!

  • Johnny Tar

    I don’t buy this as a remedy to the “immigration problem.” The 14th amendment has been a source of consternation for all of those people who are against so-called activist judges. This movement is bigger than immigration. It is about restoring states’ rights. This is a movement by people who would put their state before the Nation.

  • BHA

    It would be interesting to know where you got your number. And did it specifically say “foreign parents” vs “parents here illegally”?

    I find it hard to believe that a population of over 10 million people had only 2719 children in a specific year. A birth rate of .02% when the national rate is 14%??

  • Zeke

    joshua says:
    To make money. The rich come to America to exploit. The poor come to America because the American-rich have destroyed their countries of origin. The rich only welcome the poor because they need slave-labor, but they keep it in check.

    lets not make it into something noble.

    Demonize much?
    So if I cross the border poor, ill-educated and destitute, I am to be respected more than if I came legitimately and have a better job and contribute more tax dollars to society? My family made the decision to commit to being Americans and we work hard, we are neither rich or poor but will continue to work to make each day better than the previous. But I guess that center point is not worth notice in your dichotomy. If I gladly join the suburban professional lifestyle and exercise very little of my “cultural prerogative” then what is that in your eyes? did I “achieve” too much “whiteness”? Since when did middle class decency get so ignored?
    Your comments are like that of pampered armchair revolutionaries: anyone who doesn’t join your cause to upset the system, even by a little forum post a day, are painted with a board brush and denounced. Choose your words carefully if you consider most immigrants to be decent, law abiding folks, espeically those with enough commitment to do things legitimately.

  • Brandstad

    With the executive branch recently investigating the possible ways to give amnesty to Illegals without legislation, this topic seems small compared to what might happen before the end of the year

  • b

    The left wants to change the constitution when it suits their needs. Now they say that it is a perfect document and that the founders knew what they were doing when it comes to the 14th amend. and that it is not open to interpretation. How about gun rights? Do you still feel that what they wrote about the right to bear arms is perfect for today?

  • Brandstad

    A recent Gallup poll showed that 65% of “birthers” are not republicans. Can you discuss the bipartisan fealings that Obama has not shown proof of US Citizenship

  • Al

    It THREATENS US in this one way only: we have to pay for the medical emergency room bills (expensive) and schooling of illegal immigrants and their children (born here and not). This is true even when we do not have jobs ourselves; or when we are struggling to stay afloat with poor-paying jobs or fixed incomes (the elderly and disabled) that we have. Our poorest citizens are still African-Americans whose ancestors the 14th Amendment was meant to protect. Can the poor Black girl in one of our desperately poor inner cities afford to pay these bills for illegal immigrants as she tries to work her way out of the deep poverty she grew up in??!

    I do not believe that it has anything to do with ethnic prejudice. It has to do with the fact that the U.S. keeps taking away the safety net of American citizens, yet it is very generous with illegal immigrants, helping the wealthier Americans who can afford to pay them less than they deserve for their hard work.

    The current situation only benefits America’s wealthiest!

    I say this respectfully.

  • ken

    Betsy should stop interrupting her guests. They are intelligent thoughtful people and should be allowed to make their points.

  • nlpnt

    Speaking of conservatives/Republicans demonizing those with less power while liberals/Democrats demonize those with more power – The 14th Amendment is the ground on which the notion of corporations having rights is built. No corporate personhood, no Citizens United decision, all rights of “personhood” granted ONLY to actual biological persons. Hmm…

  • Brandstad

    Most american’s don’t want comprehensive immigration reform! Fix the boarders, Fix the ability to quickly and cheaply deport illegals caught by law enforcement, fine anyone employing illegals $5K per illegal employee or more and the problem will fix itself.

  • http://mofyc.blogspot.com Brian

    I don’t think we should change the Constitution to enable xenophobia. The fetuses don’t choose to come to the United States. They are not doing anything wrong and should not be punished for it once born.

  • Linda Maloney

    Does anyone perceive the irony in this attempt to further restrict human rights under the Fourteenth Amendment at the same time the Supreme Court (in Citizens United) has hugely expanded the rights of corporate “persons” under the same? Could there possibly be any connection with the “birther” movement and the forty-one percent of Republicans who refuse to believe the President of the United States was born in the U.S.?

  • Jory Johnson

    Race war politics (illegals = darkies/foreigners/non-christians etc.) promoting a new, growing slave labor system (illegals without any rights)- a brilliant strategy. Congrats to the ruling class who sold it hook line and sinker to the media using paid spokespeople like your guest.

  • Johnny Tar

    One of the callers referred to SCOTUS using the 14th amendment to support the right to choose. This is what I am talking about. The forces behind the movement, notwithstanding the guest’s position that there is no movement to repeal the 14th, are using the majority support for doing something with immigration to create a much bigger change, namely the destruction of the due process clause.

  • Marc Barr

    This is being driven by a tanking economy and racism.
    It is always easiest to pick on the weakest to distract from the real issues and problems of the day and since Sen. Graham’s party can’t come up with any real solutions (any better than the Democrats) they will pick on those who can least defend themselves.

  • http://www.iamdark.com Jeanette Michelle

    The 14th amendment should not be abolished, but revised. Also this situation with the children born in the US that have illegal parents, is an issue that deals with breaking the law. It seems to me that these ilegal immigrants are getting away with breaking the law. You have thousands of people taking the legal approach of coming into the country and they will not ever make it because of this situation.

    Also… these babies being born into the United States are not a threat to the people of America. However, these sparks an economical issue.

  • Johnny Tar

    Brava Linda!

  • Max

    I was an exchange student in Belgium about ten years ago. One of my fellow exchange students was a Mexican whose family did travel to Arizona so she could be born in the U.S. and thus attain citizenship. However this young woman was a member of the Mexican elite (who could afford such “tourism”) and has in fact added to the wealth of this country (in terms of taxes and as a professional and a small business owner living and working in the U.S.). Though this phenomenon of “birth tourism” does exist, it is a strawman debate and does not target illegal immigration debate.

  • Pete Bradley

    Amazing! The people who want to confer Constitutional protection from the moment of conception want to revoke it at the moment of birth. Do we now establish conception police?

  • Brandstad

    Can you discuss the fact that the Hispanic community in the US are currently looked down on because of illegal immigration since you don’t know if they are legal or not.

    With illegal immigration fixed all Hispanics will be viewed in higher regards because no mater what job they are doing from painter to doctor, everyone will know they are proud Americans that value the US constitution and rule of Law!

  • Geoff

    Why should those who are here illegitimately, profit from their illegal actions. I don’t buy the “don’t tinker with the constitution” argument. The framers included an amendment process to address their shortcomings. They were not infallible. They could not have envisioned people flying planes into buildings. The one women is right. Just have the Supreme Court address this issue.
    It is so patently unfair to reward those who broke the law while those who attempted to follow US immigration policy are forced to wait in line. How can that be defended?

  • Nick

    If we did ammend the 14 ammedment or if the legal interpetation was changed what would be the result? INS agents in every hospital? Would mothers and their newborns be deported as soon as it is found that they are not US citizens? Do we really want pregnant women having to choose between a safe birth and deportation or risking both lives to stay in the country?

  • http://wbur.org Mary

    I know a married couple who came to U.S. for birth of both children. One parent is of British citizenship and the other is a citizen of Hong Kong. I believe birth tourism is done mostly by people who can afford to travel to the U.S. and can afford to pay obstetrical bills here.

  • Dave Greenberg

    I think your panel is missing a few factual references.

    1. Can any of them cite a verifiable data source to somewhat accurately give the actual numbers of pregnant illegal or tourist women who come here and then give birth to a child? Are we talking about a couple of hundred, thousand, tens of thousands or millions?

    2. In the absense of such a verifiable data set, I would have to proffer that the “hoards” are being grossly overstated and thus, so is the problem.

    3. I don’t want to get personal with your panel of women, but how many of you have actually taken a child to full term? Does it even remotely make sense to you that a pregnat Mexican woman would trek accross the Sonoran Desert, endure the perils of barbed wire, “coyotes”, tunnels etc, all at the risk of her baby? Isn’t it somewhat arrogant to think she thinks less of the safety of her baby then any American woman? Sure, I’d bet there may be a few – but again, in what numbers that would justify a Constitutional Ammendment?

    This is pure xenophobia at best to fabricate wedge issues.

  • john

    …. as a NATURALIZED AMERICAN CITIZEN, i find the American immigration system to be a shambles ….

    Take a look at the German system..

    If and when there is a major world disaster… is America prepared to welcome ,
    maybe millions of people in a short period of time?

    How about a world conference on immigration and refugees?
    America is not alone in this regard.

  • Dave Greenberg

    And one more comment … For god’s sake, there is no such thing as an “Anchor Baby”. If the illegal alien family is discovered, the entire family, including the new American citizen is deported. That’s the way our law works. The child cannot return to the USA until the age of majority and they are not allowed to sponsor any relatives for entry to the USA until they reach 21 years of age.

    Wedge issue – pure xenophobic wedge issue.

  • Rick Stewart

    Most of the illegal immigration to the United States would be eliminated by simply charging $50,000 for a green card, linked with the issuance of a high quality ID that could be verified by employers, using the Internet. This would generate between $50 billion and $100 billion annually for the US treasury, with no tax increase for anyone. Illegal immigrants are already paying $10,000 to criminals, with no guarantee of success, and with a likelihood of earning a lower wage if they actually get here.

    The right to work in the US, rather than in your own crappy country, is (obviously) valuable – let’s charge for it.

  • BHA


    Scenario: A regular tourist on vacation in the US goes into labor early. The baby is born here. Do the parents HAVE to accept the fact that their child now has US Citizenship?

  • cam k

    Why is there always a questions mark over every one of these xenophobe moments when they occur? They are all initiated and accelerated by republicans – no one else. It is consistent with the divisive politics of the republicans and nothing more. Wake up America! If it comes from Republican/Tea Party mouths, it is divisive, hateful and completely about politics.

    p.s. wait until the election are over. On November 3rd, all of this will go away because the republicans/tea partiers will no longer have any use for it.

  • Jim Kearney

    One of the underlying assumptions in this proposal is that these illegal immigrants are not contributing to the cost of the services they are receiving ahead of US citizens. Would somebody confirm or deny that?

    And it seems to me that there would be virtually no illegal immigrants if we enforced existing laws requiring employers to check citizenship status before employing anyone. If they couldn’t get jobs here, they wouldn’t cross the border illegally.

  • Dave Greenberg

    For BHA: The answer is “no”. International law on the subject is quite clear. Citizenship annures to that of the father. So, if the German tourist gives birth here, and the father is German, the German government would recognize German citizenship.

  • Brandstad

    While Hispanics often identify with Democrats upon coming to the US, in the long term, they tend to become Republicans since the Republican party tends to match the values of the average Hispanic who tends to strive to be self sufficient, and religious.

  • Steve L

    A lot of this specific issue started when we started hearing “We haven’t broken any laws” from people who are here illegally. This kind of statement clearly identifies the speaker as someone who DOES NOT share a fundamental American value.

    There is an attempt to make this a racial issue. I see NO anti-hispanic or anti-immigrant tone but rather questions about how to deal with ILLEGAL immigration. It is absolutely unacceptable that everything has to have an “us against them” or racial spin. The last refuge for bad logic or an invalid argument is to change the subject.

    We certainly need to radically and aggressively modify the current immigration laws and procedures both as a matter of a mobile world population and as a matter of national security. My feeling is that we should apply our immigration laws to all, equally and without prejudice, whether it is applied to hispanics, Asians, Europeans, or Canadians; BUT WE SHOULD APPLY THE LAW.

    The more diverse a society, the more important it is to have a shared understanding of what protections the law provides. While we do not, can not, and should not forget our personal, cultural history, we must embrace our social environment as the reality that defines who we are as a society and nation.

  • BHA

    Thanks Dave.

    I knew that part. Maybe the question is better phrased: Do they have to accept that the baby has dual citizenship or can they say, “No thanks. Got my own country thank you.”

  • Beth

    This is a repeat of a drama from 20 years ago. When Republicans need to regain power, they turn on the weakest easiest target. Under Gingrich, African-American women were made the face of the welface system. They were branded as morally bankrupt individuals who used their Black babies to take from the Americans. There was little to no mention of actually investigating real fraud and providing better healthcare, family planning, and professional development opportunities to all welfare recepients.

    Now, I am ashamed to see another Southern member of Congress leading the mob against Latina women and their babies. How does attacking a baby bring about immigration reform? Secure the border and create a work visa program that serves the industries that need the cheap labor and the workers who need to come here.

  • Tim

    Does it make sense to argue that those born to illegal aliens in the US are not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States when reading the 14th Amendment and then turn around and deport them? If you argue that the current version of the 14th Amendment precludes giving citizenship to those born in the US, then you have to agree that those babies are exempt from all laws of the US because they are not under its jurisdiction. That reading of the Constitution simply does not hold water.

  • http://onpoint Jan

    Intrinsic to ‘rule of law’ is due process. I’d like to hear Sen. Graham explain how enforcement of his notion would take place. Establishment of paternity would be essential. DNA tests for 11 million and the accompanying paperwork would add up to ??????

    This is pure posturing that reveals the Republican agenda – demagogue when it’s possible and avoid sincere attempts to establish a fair and realistic path to citizenship.


  • Dave Greenberg

    For BHA:

    It’s not “their” (the parents’) citizenship to accept or reject – it’s the baby’s citizenship which is at issue. The answer is that the USA confers citizenship on the baby and so does the father’s country. If the child later desires to assert his US citizenship he may – but it’s not something to be accepted or rejected by the parents.

  • BHA

    Brandstead: “… they tend to become Republicans since the Republican party tends to match the values of the average Hispanic who tends to strive to be self sufficient …”

    Do you mean to imply that people who identify with the Democratic party do NOT tend to strive to be self sufficient?

    I hope not because that would be quite a bizarre conclusion.

  • Eric

    People keep emphasizing that these people “are” illegal.

    Being in this country without documentation is breaking the same level of crime as rolling through a stop sign or speeding in your car.

    If you’ve ever driven above the speed limit, you’ve broken the law to the same extent as someone that doesn’t have immigration status.

  • RBP

    G-d save us from those “liberal” Southern democrats whose calls were received late in the program!

  • BHA

    Thanks again Dave.

    OK so the answer is that the parents have no choice in the matter. The US Constitution determines that the child is a US citizen and is recognized as a dual citizen.

  • Paul

    Pete Bradley makes a brilliant point in his comment above.

    Also, let’s remember that we are all descendants of illegal immigrants in one sense – just ask any American Indian.

    Don’t punish innocent children for political gain.

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    Brandstad says,

    “A recent Gallup poll showed that 65% of “birthers” are not republicans.”

    This seems disingenuous to me. A lot of conservatives no longer identify with the Republicans because of Bush’s supposed move towards the center. I would wager that 100% of “birthers” are conservatives and 0% are liberals.

  • Jim T

    Undocumented aliens are clearly violating this country’s laws. Even so, I can’t help but wonder when I hear the sometimes hateful rhetoric of some of those angered by these aliens’ presence. If these angry individuals were desperately poor and entering this country without the required documentation were the only way to provide their families and their children with the hope of a better life, wouldn’t they do it, too? I’m sure many (probably most) would.

    It seems to me that we all share the same dream for ourselves and our children … even if some of us would rather not share.

  • BHA

    Eric, your comments are true enough. And I have long wondered why entering and staying in the country illegally is only a misdemeanor.

    The difference between your examples is that if I were to speed and be stopped, I would get a ticket. If I continue speed, I will get more tickets. Eventually I will lose my license and end up in jail as a repeat offender.

    Entering illegally is a misdemeanor. Staying illegally for years is breaking the law every single day for years.

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    As a sidebar, I must admit that posting here is sometimes frustrating. I live on the West Coast, and the show airs at 10 am Eastern, so I always miss the first airing. My own NPR affiliate doesn’t air the show until 4 pm Pacific, so unless I get a chance to hear the show early on my laptop (which scarcely ever happens) I’m always late to everything. Nobody’s fault of course; just a generalized kvetch.

  • Alan Demb

    From time to time, expectant mothers in southwestern Ontario are sent to Buffalo hospitals, crossing the border in ambulances due to some combination of local hospital bed shortages and the need for high order medical treatment during or after delivery. The babies become inadvertent dual Canadian-American citizens.

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the same thing happens in the opposite direction: expectant mothers in northern Vermont being sent to Montreal; expectant mothers in North Dakota being sent to Winnipeg. Thus the issue cuts both ways.

    In our case we had to register our children at the nearest US consulate, since they were born in Ontario and Nova Scotia.

    There always will be inadvertent citizens.

    Alan Demb

  • Dave Greenberg

    For BHA:

    I think we’re getting sidetracked with poor examples. I don’t know of any state where repeat offenders of speeding tickets go to jail unless the tickets go unpaid. In the case of non-payment, there is cause for a Court to issue a bench warrant for arrest. But otherwise, pay your speeding tickets, suffer the penalties to your insurance coverage, and go on your way.

    The question here is whether or not the Constitution needs to be changed. So far, I’ve heard nothing to suggest the problem (and I agree there is a problem) is of such magnitude that there is either cause for a Constitutional Convention or for 2/3 of the State legislatures to pass such an ammendment.

  • Al

    It’s very possible that a small number of the comments on this page are purposefully dissembling. What do I mean?

    It’s possible that some of the commentators on this page who claim to hate xenophobia and who smear the reputations of those who want to stop illegal immigration by accusing them of xenophobia and racism, are actually, themselves, employers of illegal immigrants, either at home (yard work, let’s say) or in their companies (cleaning services, perhaps).

    Perhaps some well-to-do people, who get even richer by hiring the cheapest labor available, have found the best hiding place: behind the wall of their own talk where they accuse jobless American citizens of xenophobia and racism. Meanwhile, their own yards are weedless, and their toilets are immaculate, and the illegal immigrants work for pittance which is more than nothing. Claiming to be caring, those people who do fit this profile exploit the illegal immigrants who cannot call out, “Foul Play!” How convenient for those who believe so intently on labor values in Capitalism markets!

    A friend of mine, who is desperate for work, has been working in several homes where she is the only U.S. citizen. She has seen things in the U.S. Northeast that cause me to write these thoughts.

  • BHA

    Paul: ” … we are all descendants of illegal immigrants in one sense – just ask any American Indian.”

    Uninvited yes, illegal no. Given there was no central government, there were no immigration laws to break.

    The peoples who were in North America in 1492 had the same ‘settlement’ beliefs as those who came from Europe: “If I can take and hold the land, it is mine”. Sure there were treaties so every waking moment wasn’t spent defending land but there were no ‘immigration laws’. Things were no different in the rest of the world.

  • Dave Greenberg

    For Al:

    You raise a point worth talking about. However, the name of this show is “On Point” and you’re somewhat “Off Point. The question, again, is whether or not the Constitution of the United States needs to be changed?

  • Holly Seiferth

    This country’s doctrine is jus soli (law of the ground), not jus sanguini (law of blood), per United States v. Wong Kim Ark 169 U.S. 649 (1898). The nation is founded not an inherent quality of our ancestry but on the idea that a democratic society can flourish under our Constitution through the cultivation of common principles among diverse people. The idea that to manage a specific group of people to achieve assertedly economic objectives you will construct a specific abridgement of a general natural right that applies to all is begging for trouble.

  • wavre

    Let’s all of us shake our family tree…at least an anchored-baby will come down!!!

    Anchor-baby?….Your Mama! :)

  • ThresherK

    How many Republican senators were all gung-ho for immigration reform and switched from 3 years ago? Eleven?

    Hey, NPR, can you try just once not using a Fox News buzzword for any issue?

  • michael

    “For BHA: The answer is “no”. International law on the subject is quite clear. Citizenship annures to that of the father. So, if the German tourist gives birth here, and the father is German, the German government would recognize German citizenship”

    hehe i bet if they can change or scrape this then the republicans can claim Obama is actually not a U.S. citizen but kenyan(since his father was not a U.S. citizen)and his mother moving to another country gave his right as such up and cannot be president.

    Birthers 2.0 folks

    Just remember folks that the republicans for the past few weeks plus have upped up their attacks, on blacks, latinos, muslims, arabs, the poor,women when you vote in Nov. Just wait when BUR has a show on Gay Marriages and read all those comments from supposed loving christians.

  • Edward G

    The issue of “anchor babies” being able to petition for citizenship for the parents is rather moot. I think that the parents get “rights by proxy” just by the fact that the children get rights. If the children are getting education, food, and housing…the parents naturally get it as well. We are not a nation that feels comfortable sending the non-citizen parents home while putting the citizen children in foster care, which is the only way to support the child’s citizenship without giving citizen-privileges to the parents.

  • Cyndee Gallegos

    I think the 14th amendment needs to be redefined in the current world that we live in. They come here, have children and flood our schools, where they use alot of resources since they do not speak the language, in terms of hispanic children, they do not graduate (PEW Institute) they flood our hospitals, and gain access to food stamps, housing medicade…They benefit from their illegal behaviour. The arguement that we are a nation of immigrants is a false one, we are a nation of laws. Once upon a time, we did not have laws about driving while drunk, for example, since our founding fathers had no idea that cars would be something that would need to be addressed. In the context of the current situation, we need to deny citizenship autamatically. The lack of access to benefits would send them back home.

  • Scott

    Your intro was incorrect. The children of foreigners and/or people here illegally do NOT have a “constitutional right” to citizenship. As the parents are not US citizens, they are not entitled to the protections of the Constitution, and neither are their children. The 14th Am. has no application here. It was intended to grant citizenship to black Americans.

    No first world country is so stupid to do what the US government has been doing in allowing this to go on. Continuing it is a recipe for violent civil strife, overpopulation, and a never-ending flood of illegals.

  • Cameron

    Is it not the priority of this nation right now is jobs?
    How does this help that priority? This is a purely a political stunt.

    I really want them to propose something really constructive right now for this country. Not something to distract the nation to economy recovery.

    Thank you.

  • Vaughan Parker

    A caller this morning stated that abolishing birth right citizenship would reguire a massive bureaucracy. I suggest the answer to this possible problem is to contact the many other countries in the world that do NOT grant birthright citizenship. How do they handle certifying citizenship??

  • michael

    “A caller this morning stated that abolishing birth right citizenship would reguire a massive bureaucracy. I suggest the answer to this possible problem is to contact the many other countries in the world that do NOT grant birthright citizenship. How do they handle certifying citizenship??”

    The same could be said about the 2nd, maybe contact the U.K. on that one, or the First, Even life liberty and the pursuit of happiness maybe contract China or NK on that one? Maybe Saudi A. on freedom of relgion?

    Maybe contact them on Bonuses and Corp.Personhood as well while were at it, Don’t forget to contact them on International Law as well and the freedom of movement from any E.U. citizen.

  • joshua

    according to the 14th Arizona immigration laws are unconstitutional–if police and wacky neighbors go harassing people because the way they look.

    We should have a constitutional convention–to amend the constitution of corporate rights–which it should never have been violated in the first place. Corporations should not have human rights.

    But this whole immigration thing is a distraction. We are waging illegal wars. We are loosing jobs due to outsourcing–corporate betrayal. We have no health care. We need to go green in a big way. etc. etc.

    Our immigration laws are too strict and unfair. i know of a German and a Chinese who have mixed children and live in the uSA, but when i invite a friend to USA to stay with me under my finances for Christmas (2 weeks)this person is denied passage with no reason provided–most certainly because they are not rich. This is a violation of my 14th amendment as a citizen of the uSA my liberty is violated when I cant invite a friend to my home because the person is not rich.

  • Craig Ramsay

    How many children are born in the U. S. each year of illegal immigrants? This number would help me put this discussion into some kind of context.

  • Scott

    If this is strictly an issue of birth tourism, the solution is “Don’t allow pregnant women into the country.” Since this has never been suggested, it proves to me to be a matter of illegal immigration prejudice.

    In addition, if we deny citizenship to infants of non-citizens, what happens to those children? What is to keep other countries from changing their laws to prohibit citizenship of those children, thereby creating children with no country? Where could we deport them in that case?

  • joshua

    Zeke i really don’t understand your point–the wording is very confusing. id o want to understand it though. I think its hard to talk in anything more than generalizations and dichotomies in a tiny blog space. I guess I was trying to criticize the reasons for and against immigration by the left/right dichotomy of elite Republican and Democrat psychology not always verbalized.

    And the fundamental reasons why a person would decide to emigrate to America–why America over any other country, “first-world” country. many English like the weather in sunny florida. Ok. But I have met many peole in my world travels th epeople I know who choose the uSA over say Australia or New Zealand or Canada or a European country–choose the uSA because they have this idea they they can get filthy rich–less social benefits to get in the way (they tend to be conservatives economincally and socailly) and when pushed, even slightly, racist tendencies emerge. A bit off the point but I once met an English bloke living in China who said he left England, hated England, and never wanted to return because they are too many foreigners in England, to many Asians to be specific–yet, he lives in China. Hmmm. The people I hav emet move to America primarily for finances–to get rich, or because they are under the illusion that it is easier to make money and they will have a better lifestyle. Of course they’re ar ethose who choose to emigrate for human-rights issues but those people cant leave and rarely get accepted because they are not wealthy. The immigration laws are racist. it is easy for a European to enter the States but next to impossible for a person of color, unless they are rich. The number one priority is money. NO–I dont think that is fair. An educate dperon with no moeny can help build America just as well as a “middle-class” person. Frankly, most middle-class people are cogs in a corporate wheel. I dont find thay very courageous. Its submission. Its certainly not innovative. But that’s another topic.

    The rich tend to ignore Mexican border immigration laws because they benefit from the slave labor–lawn cleaners, servants…sex trade. And votes in the long run. Why don’t we base immigration on moral values. How likely is this perosn to be apathetic or an active citizen championing liberty, equality, the environment. Why should money have anything to do with it. To justify the econmic value of a human being is fascist, cruel, degrading, meritless, etc…

    Im glad you work hard Zeke–its nt really my issue. There are lots of people who want to work hard but corporations (the rich) betray America and outsource all the jobs and we wonder why we have such a depression. becaue their are no jobs–its a race to the bottom. But if we must include middle-class notions–I did. When all you care about is money you never have enough and the American Dream weaves adark spells convincing peopel that if they work hard they can be rich too–well, your job is not stable and will probably go to China because the rich see you as commodity–an indentured servant, adn are workign very hard to destroy your middle-class values–whatever those are? MOre money. More Prada. More Ipods and handbags and fancy cars and materialism, consumerism, do as the joneses do while never really participating in social society, apathetic, accepting war, and inequality because well I dont to make waves or lose my job so I swallow the soma.

    people come to America for money–not social values. Most smart people humane want to live socialist-minded countries like Canada–for the lifestyle, for the world-view, not wealth.

  • Ren Knopf

    I’ve been reading these responses and for a great many of them, this question keeps coming up for me: why is this an issue? Why are we as citizens allowing these side issues to gain importance far, far beyond their relevancy and impact. 2700? 27,000? So what? If our congress – specifically, our Senate – was actually doing their job, IE: our business, would we actually be concerning ourselves with babies? Why aren’t we DEMANDING the myriad of legislative holds, tricks and obfuscations being made in the name of party power, cease? These people are playing with us and at our expense. And we seem to be okay with that. Shame on US.
    Ren Knopf, Framingham

  • joshua

    zeke–i dont know what you mean by cultural perogative and whiteness. Totally lost me. I think you got me all wrong.

    But the question still stands–why did you come to America?–honestly, why did you choose to leave your home country–the safety of your family, corruption, life and death situation, degradation of environment and social society due to American fascism degrading your society resulting in poor living conditions and wages? Too much bureaucracy? family? Why choose to live in another country? I choose to live in other countries because i like travel and life experience and I cant find work in America even with a high education–why? American economy is reduced to marketing, finances, and KFC. I blame the corporate-government. I will probably settle in Europe because it has values closer to mine–humane and green, and not so obsessed with money and not so ignorant.


    Thank God My Family are all LEGAL immigrants from Greece and the Philippines.

    Happy to be here but for those who are Illegal it will be a hell of a stay in America.

    Good Luck Illegal Immigrants.

  • Arden Martos

    This talk about”anchor babies”and “birth tourism” seems to be another example of the canards promulgated by those who play on people’s fears. Are there any actual (verified) examples of this? Much less, any statistics. I doubt this happens very much, if at all.

  • twenty-niner

    “The left tends to demonize those people with more power than ourselves–i.e. the rich, corporations, etc.

    The right tends to demonize those people with less power than themselves–i.e. the poor, minorities, immigrants.”

    I think you actually have it backwards. Modern liberals tend to trust and idolize the ultimate power, the state (which has the power to tax, confiscate, police, and jail), whereas conservatives (discounting neo-cons) have a healthy distrust of the state.

    If we didn’t have a welfare state, I imagine conservatives would be a lot less exercised about illegal immigration.

  • michael

    Jon S nails it again,


    “whereas conservatives (discounting neo-cons) have a healthy distrust of the state.”

    Unless of course its, smoking weed, gays, Religion,music,police power,abortion, military spending, Big Subsidies for farms, discrimination in laws,wire tapping than That “”healthy distrust of the State”” is moot by the same such conservatives

  • twenty-niner

    “Unless of course its, smoking weed, gays, Religion,music,police power,abortion, military spending, Big Subsidies for farms, discrimination in laws,wire tapping than That “”healthy distrust of the State”” is moot by the same such conservatives”

    There are both liberals and conservatives (neo-cons and such) who are statists, and those who are libertarian. I’m referring to libertarian conservatives such as Ron Paul (and myself) who are against reckless military engagements and who could care less if you want to marry your best man and smoke chronic at the reception.

  • Vijay

    It has become a practice that you can come here illegally or with visitor / Student visa. Then have a childbirth so kids gets US citizenship. Then next step is parents stay here to take care of the kids as you are not suppose to separate family. Remember more than 95% of these people doing like this claim they do not have enough to pay for the child birth. So its paid by Govt.

    I understand the immigration reform will take few months to enact, so meantime here is a solution.

    If you are illegal then I think its a DUTY OF THE local authority of their country to take care of them. That means all those people to be handed over to their local consulate for deportation. If there is imminent child birth situation then provide medical help and charge their respective government. Instead of discharging from the medical facility, they should be handed over to their local consulate for further action.

    I think the law should not allow those people who have come legally (Student/ visitor visa) with only this intention to file for US citizenship.

    Now if we as a country decide to award nationality based on the Birth then let it be. Only thing is parents must take the newborn to their country, do not separate the family. Once kid is 18 he has right to decide if he want to become a citizen of US or citizen of his parents country. If wants to become a US Citizen, he/she is most welcome. Once here they (children) can then file for the parents per the normal process.


  • zeno

    Anchor babies, illegal immigrants, tax evasion, outsourcing, etc.. Its all death by a thousand cuts, and if the system does not start applying some bandages, then the whole country is going to fall apart on the crucible of political correctness.

    The constitution is NOT a holy document, but a living set of rules that may need updating to meet the needs of the country. If all amendments are set in stone and unchangeable then it is a dead document in honor of a dead nation… like all of the other holy books.

    Should we bring back the sedition laws and just keep EVERYONE quiet? Rational solutions to simple problems can be achieved, and yes some people will be hurt and some will be helped. We have less moral discourse on going to war for oil corporations.

  • http://www.beccar.wordpress.com Eugenia Renskoff

    Hi, I think it is stupid and mean to deny children born in the United States citizenship. I think it is the height of lack of brains. Eugenia Renskoff

  • twenty-niner

    “Hi, I think it is stupid and mean to deny children born in the United States citizenship. I think it is the height of lack of brains.”

    According to you, most of the countries in the world have no brains. I can only think of handful of countries that offer automatic citizenship by birth: The US, Canada, and France.

    Please include any others of which you may be aware.

  • Mark Buckholtz

    I was not surprised that NumbersUSA is involved. It is, along with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), part of a nation-wide consortium of anti-immigrant organizations founded by John Tanton, who has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as “the racist architect of the modern anti-immigrant movement.” The SPLC has placed him and FAIR on their list of “hate groups,” along with the KKK, and various neo-Nazi and neo-Confederate groups. NumbersUSA shares office space in Arlington, Va. with another Tanton-founded group,ProEnglish, which has pushed for “Official English” laws throughout the nation, as an indirect way of limiting immigration. They have recently been pushing English-only legislation in small communities, such as Jackson, NY (my own), despite a fair amount of local opposition. They actually wrote the law that the town board is proposing to pass and came to a town meeting to lobby for it. They have preyed upon other small municipalities, as well, exploiting fears of a non-existing problem to further their own agenda. They should be exposed for who they are and whom they represent.

  • http://www.gignouxphotos.com Alan

    I think it is so sad that this argument is being discussed! what happened to the liberal, tolerant, “Give me your huddles masses” America that I grew up with. For starters, 99% of the US population came from elsewhere and look at what an amazing country they built.

    It is the hungry young masses that come up with the ideas, the energy and the vitality that America has always had to reinvent itself.

  • Zeke

    I admit to being one of the “side-trackers” on this topic, let me try to answer some questions and getting back on point at the same time.

    This topic set me seething because of the point, especially from the left, that we need to do some act of judicial fishing to get things interpreted “the right way” so that immigration process circumventions become justified. Such maneuvers strike me as placing more importance on “the need” rather than “the law”. I don’t mind instrumentalism towards looser or stricter laws, but let the proper procedure take place rather than delibrately generate enough grayness in law that then get stretched to the breaking point. Personally I prefer stricter.

    Joshua, my point is a simple one, and that is to point out the over-romanticization of the sun-beaten illegal as more deserving than someone who followed the process as a false assumption. On this topic of birthright citizenship, there were many posts that just go on oblique items going as far as questioning the motives of those legitimately, and willingly committing to the process. The focus seems to be if you can see someone working in the sun then they need all the help they can get, the whole society needs to pull together to help them on their way… but if I work for a corporation, drive alone, worked in an A/Ced office, then boom! I am mindless consumer, have “no courage” and really shouldn’t get in the way of someone’s “migration narrative”? Why don’t you say “it’s for your own good” while you are at it? Most of the conservative leaning folks I came across and some I called friends, I find to be pretty genuine. They seem to express real joy at the shared experience of being American, but in recent years I came across more and more liberals whose first few questions always seem to include “why are you (even) here?” or “have you ever though about going back?”. My legal status makes a difference, to be sure, but at some point the “you are intelligent, you can contribute so much more to progress and stability in your home country” or “US is so bad/ignorant/ugly” lines come across as no different than “you ain’t sufferin’, why don’tcha go back to be with your own kind”. Often at the same time this is accompanied by “oh you poor thing, of course we are obliged to help, you want it bad enough, you deserve it” to the illegals, just strikes me as absurd.

    As for my own personal reasons. It starts as my father’s business has many contacts in the US, having the family there also makes it the “US branch”. Immigration was the chance that he can provide a more comfortable, rich(experience wise) life for his family as well as fulfilling a business goal. I was made aware the opportunity exists during my young teens, and that I am expected to learn English and not have many cultural hang-ups to do well. I adopted that attitude and have done alright. I know I definitely feels more constrained in academics, and there would have been a lot more cultural baggage in life, marriage, and assorted other ties back in the “old country”. Here in the US, you have a lot more to pick and choose from to fulfill your own sense of culture, and aren’t required to toe the line to respect for “ancient and rich heritage”, but beyond the professional life, you can develop interests and hobbies at a very reasonable cost and convenience. Any place else and such choices well be very expensive comparatively. Freedom has both a societal and individual component, but without affordablity, it might as well have been legislated away for the individual. There is no going back for me, and in my daily life my cultural background counts for very little, I am under no obligation to be any one’s guardian/promoter/tourism-advocate of culture and language.

  • Joshua Hendrickson


    Since you identify yourself as a libertarian, I might as well admit that once, in my early twenties, I considered identifying myself with libertarianism. After all, we both favor the state getting out of the business of telling people what they can or can’t smoke, who they can or can’t have sex with, etc.

    In the event, I could not in good conscience join up with the libertarians. They seemed to combine the social freedom ethic of liberalism with the mean-spirited “I’ve got mine, so you can go starve” economic attitude of conservatism. I want our state to take care of people economically while leaving them free to behave how they please. After all, if we have to struggle desperately our whole lives just to make sure we have a place to live and enough to eat, we don’t have a real opportunity to live our lives the way we want to. Life is too short and too hard for our political system to not be used to provide for our needs. But then, our political system is more inhumane than not … and I attribute that to the selfishness of conservatism and libertarianism.

  • Debbi e

    If NPR and the rest of the media would stop treating all right-wing talking points as real stories and true controversies, we’d have a much more interesting and civil public discourse. Really–because Fox News makes this and other “red meat for the extremist,” “let’s hijack the news cycle” ploys by the Republicans a story, must the rest of the media tag along as if it were a big deal? It’s so tiresome, and one reason why I no longer make NPR a key news source.

  • Federico Bagnasco

    What would happen if this go trough?
    Instead of 11 million will be (hypothetical)22 million , or 33 million, over a period of 20 to 30 years from now.
    I don’t think thats the way to go, Because it will generate more ilegalls from people born inside the country , so , double trouble.

  • Michael Thompson

    While the 14th Amendment grants citizenship based on country of birth, that is not a universal condition. Great Britain, Vietnam, etc. grant citizenship based on the nationality of the father. That makes the argument about difficulty of determining citizenship moot since the conflicts under two systems already exist. For example, children of US soldiers born in Vietnam are granted citizenship by neither country, and children born in the USA of a British father have two nationalities.

  • Federico bagnasco

    OK, I have a question , and read well before answering…
    If modified as proposed is succesfull.
    What it would fix? , How it would help the mayority?

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    “Liberal” Southern Democrats?

    “Call them what they are–illegal!”

    People are not illegal!

    This just reminds me of how history works out … remember, until the Civil Rights era, the Southern Democrats were the real hardcore racists in this country. Obviously traces of this remain in that region.

  • Fred

    The question of WHY this is coming up now is completely relevant and I’m glad the host brought it up. This is unambiguously part of a political movement of the right. Migration is less of an issue now than its been for a while. Legal and illegal immigration is significantly down. Undocumented immigrants are probably down by about a million people. The anchor baby controversy is ridiculously contrived. The whole thing is a crock.

    The anti-mosque movement is largely the same thing. The right is building up an anti-immigrant, anti-muslim, nativist agenda. Its scary and its going to make the United States a meaner and less humane place. They’re playing with fire.

  • twenty-niner

    “It is the hungry young masses that come up with the ideas, the energy and the vitality that America has always had to reinvent itself.”

    Precisely the problem – 6.7 billion hungry masses on this earth, growing geometrically, all wanting a house in the suburbs, an SUV, and a tuna steak for dinner, ready to come to this country and reset prevailing wages so low that working means barely getting by and having to live ten to a room.

    There is an upper limit as to what the ecosystem and infrastructure can handle. We haven’t yet figured out how to power a city with a cup of water, and create a steak out of thin air with a beef-in-ator, so something’s going to have to break, either population growth or our standard of living.

  • ward

    Well, those last two callers were fake. Amanda “really really liberal” who proceeded to spout extremely right wing ideas about immigration with a heavy southern twang, yeah right.

    The caller before was a little bit more plausable, but not much. Same script: state you are a liberal, make it sound somewhat credible and then spout right wing ideas to make it sound like “even liberals” support crazy ideas like changing the interpretation of the 14th, or amending it.

    On-point editors – time to improve call screening?

  • Jake

    To what end would we change the Constitution? The issue is that people come here and don’t fully commit to our economy – they leave their families in foreign jurisdictions, send money back to them, and don’t pay taxes. We need MORE LEGAL immigrants. The proposed “amendment” would do just the reverse.

    If the issue is money, where’s the uproar about out-sourcing?

  • Nora

    What about the rights of children born to illegal immigrants, who themselves committed no crime? They would face possible deportation to an unfamiliar foreign country because of their parents’ transgressions?

  • Ahmed EZAT

    I am ahmed from Egypt. I suppose an ammendment that will entail the parents of american land-born child to be legally present in the united states ,otherwise their child will follow their status.

  • http://betterwearahat.com Ed Flynn

    The talk about abolishing the 14th amendment is a a slippery slope. If after its abolished or changed, what then would stop a President or some high official from declaring any political activists suddenly an illegal alien and then strip that person of all US citizen legal rights?

    If you want to solve our immigration problem, do what Australia, New Zealand and many other countries do: Charge immigrants thousands of dollars to move here.
    To emigrate to any of the aforementioned countries can cost anywhere from 20K to 125K dollars.

    Think of how much money we could make on that!

  • landless

    Where is the issue of fairness to people waiting to come into the country? Children of illegals qualify for benefits. Those benefits subsidize their parents’ low pay. Meanwhile, people who follow the rules wait years until they get into the country.
    Also, why should we trust the Supreme Court? There is no debate there. They are not responsible to the voters.

  • twenty-niner

    “But then, our political system is more inhumane than not … and I attribute that to the selfishness of conservatism and libertarianism.”

    I don’t think libertarianism is mutually exclusive with compassion, and I’m not advocating dismantling important safety nets, nor repealing the Clean Air Act. What I would like to dismantle, however, is the Patriot Act, no fly lists without due process, full-body scanners, unnecessary wars, bailouts for reckless banks, and this ridiculous new health care bill, that as a small business owner, is starting to cause me huge headaches:


  • Polar Bear

    Citizenship shouldn’t come so cheap. If it has to be earned, like many legal immigrants who want to be Americans and want to contribute, it shouldn’t be given simply by birth.

    This site is from a comprehensive “birth tourism” company. It lists 8 privileges for a baby to have US citizenship, even though the baby may be raised outside of the U.S. (2 more reasons as they have privileges from the parents’ home country), and 2 additional reasons why the child’s citizenship would benefit the parents when they retire and come to the U.S.

    If you can read this website, please read it. If not, find someone who can or use an online translator. The birth right citizenship is being abused, and tax payers in the U.S. are being taken advantage of.

    I am a legal immigrant in the US and do not hold US citizenship. But I firmly believe immigration policies should be tightened. The naturalization test should be English-only. Why does anyone need the right to vote if he or she can’t understand English and follow on current events to make his or her own judgment? I was also astonished to find out that the test questions are public, in multiple languages. You can find the following on USCIS’ website:
    Civics (History and Government) Questions with MP3 Audio (English Version)
    Civics (History and Government) Questions (Spanish Version with MP3 Audio)
    Civics (History and Government) Questions (Chinese Version) (363KB PDF)
    Civics (History and Government) Questions (Tagalog Version) (289KB PDF)
    Civics (History and Government) Questions (Vietnamese Version) (278KB PDF)

    No matter what your political standing is, WAKE UP. The U. S. is a country of rule by law, and law is to protect justice. We can help people but within our means. We do not have infinite resources and a country should not be run like a charity. When people outsmart the law, it’s time to change the law.

  • david

    How many extra pints can a one pint glass hold?
    How many extra people can sit in a fifty man boat?
    How many extra tons can a 2 ton bridge carry?
    How many extra people can fit into a 15 people elevator?
    How many extra people can fit into a 5 people car?
    How many extra people can fly in a 200 seat airplane?
    How many extra people can play on a 9 member baseball team?
    How many extra people can be president at one time?
    How many extra people can you support on your income?
    How many illegals does it take to make the word “ILLEGAL”, legal???
    According to many, about 11-20 million new voters will do!!!
    How many extra millions can our system support when we cannot afford to support the millions we have in poverty now!!!!!
    In Texas alone,60,000 babies of Illegals born a year!
    I want to be in American! Why??? Not to assimilate that is for sure!!!!!!!
    How many times does your neighbor need to break into your home before you call the cops?????

  • wavre

    When the founding fathers were writing the constitution and at the time of the 14th amendment,There were no immigration’s problems the way we experience them today.

    In those days,the tides of immigration were going the other way(big time). The Settlers were desperate for lands and opportunities and were migrating( with violence) in what use to be a “bigger mexican territories”.Let’s all remember the “real Alamo”not the romantize version of it.

    Let’s all remember how this little colony of ours expanded to the detriment of the “others”.Let’s reform immigration but stop the demagoguery and the all too convenient “amnesia”

    Manifest destiny anyone??

  • Grady Lee Howard

    Annexation of Mexico into the United States should solve the immigration problem nicely. Like German reunification, the poorer districts would be brought up to parity. We’d become a bilingual country like Canada. “Tear down that wall, Mr. Obama.” A third of our oil comes from there anyway. Canada, you’re next, Baby. (Half our oil comes from there.) How sweet to be paid a living wage in Ameros (already minted and stored at the FED?)

    As Woody Guthrie said (Mermaid Avenue), we’d all soon be…” the same size, same color, all working together, and maybe we’d have all the fascists out of the way by then.”

  • Xavier




  • some one

    Please stop hosting false political discussions like this. This issue is pure cynicism on the Republicans’ part. They are well aware that there is a snowball’s chance in hell of the 14th Amendment being overturned and that even if they could get the ball rolling that it would take ages for anything to happen. This is pure political theater to dazzle the uneducated. It is disappointing that you have been shoehorned into this charade and that the minority party once again determines the topic of discussion. Please try harder not to fall for these traps.

  • vinced

    For those who are crying that this is racist: WRONG! This is not about race, it is about numbers, legality, and the future of our country. Have a look at this:




    “Birthright citizenship is no small part of our total problem. 60,000 in Texas alone, 11,000 on ONE hospital! This is a vast conspiracy to gain a foothold using a child. That child is a human shield against deportation and a ticket to America’s social services. And yes, eventual citizenship for the parents. Anchor baby, bonus baby, it’s a sham. Yes the kid is inocent, the parent(s) are not! If there was not such a reward for having a baby here, they would not conspire to travel here for birth. PERIOD!

    No one is taking away the citizenship of those who have played this game. BUT! We need to discontinue this policy that is being severely abused.

    It is not punishment to award the child the citizenship of it’s parents, it is merely refusing to reward the crime of the parents. Please stop the “poor innocent children” crap. These kids are being used by their parents. Anyone with an IQ even a point above George W Bush’s can see this!

    Modify or re-intetpret the 14′th, the sooner the better.

  • yar

    I was picking beans as this show aired. I thought to myself that all of these people who want to pretend that they don’t benefit from immigrant labor. Cheap food and cheap services, don’t take away the hope that people slave all of their life so their children can live in the promised land.
    A final thought is just because your born in God’s country doesn’t mean your God’s children. At least in the mind of many Americans. Kind of sad, don’t you think?

  • vinced

    And for a little humor break…. Enjoy!


  • michael

    “No matter what your political standing is, WAKE UP. The U. S. is a country of rule by law, and law is to protect justice. ”

    Sounds good to say but it’s simply not true, example is the sentence of crack cocaine versus powder cocaine,(no factual or evidencal data to support such difference in sentencing) that claim also smacks in the face of the Jim Crow Era,the robber baron Era, This Lobbyist era(currently), the treatment of millions and billions of dollars somehow loss without accountability to the law and/or justice by the military as well as what just happen on wall street

    The below story is how Bail Bondsman cheat the system and people in it to make more money, as well as costing taxpayers more money while doing so.
    This is clearly not justice.

    The below is about those REAL Americans who seem not to like to pay there legally obligated taxes


    If you really want to stand by protecting the law and taxes than, anytime a service(physical or professional)(ex.hiring a babysitter,yard work, professional advice,etc don’t forget the fica taxes that will need to be paid) is rendered by you or someone for you, inform the IRS and pay taxes for such service if not you breaking the law and continue to do so until you do. If you let a family member or anyone borrow money than you must(like a good American who follows all the laws) claim the interest from such loan. Once done you can be happy to know that you obeyed the law. Don’t forget any under the table money made to report this as well.

    Of course this is not the case but I’m sure most of the poster crying about illegals not paying enough taxes would be guilty of omitting information on there tax returns when legally being required to present it or taking write-offs. That if audited for paperwork and receipt would fail to prove such write-offs. And a good American would demand for anyone hiding money overseas to not be taxed by striped of there U.S. citizenship along with there families since we should not allow people to benefit from others peoples/parents crimes like many of the posters for amending the 14th claim.

  • michael

    “And for a little humor break…. Enjoy! ”

    Naw Stephen much better



    A Brief History of America (Funny)

  • david

    Great source, thanks for the post. Fifteen years ago at may daughter’s senior class Spanish club dinner, the guest speaker was a Hispanic teacher from Mexico. He told the group that they needed to learn Spanish because in the years to come, America would be majority Hispanic. He stated the reason being, they average 6 kids, Americans average 2. I was a little taken at his statement at the time, but today, it is coming true.
    I bought a CD many years ago called “Wake Up America” that explained graphs like the ones you supplied from youtube. The information is true, it is sad that this information seems to fall on deaf ears concerning the dangers of unchecked immigration.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    While I tend to be a flaming Progressive on most issues… far to the Left of the Democratic Party, I find myself being an illegal immigration hardliner.

    I understand the root causes why some to choose to illegally come to the US. NAFTA (an idea I still oppose) devastated small farms. There is basic human desire to do better for one’s family. And of course cheap, exploitable labor is a business owner’s dream.

    But there was also an Immigration Reform law passed in 1986 that said there would be a ONE-TIME amnesty. From then on there would be strict immigration enforcement.

    That never happened.

    My grandparents played by the rules when the immigrated here over a century ago. I expect others to do the same.

    I don’t want to hear of so-called “comprehensive immigration reform”, a term use to disguise the intent for a second amnesty (OK, with a fine) until the conditions of the 1986 act are FULLY implemented.

  • Deanne

    Note Eric: the number of babies born here from illegal aliens is more like 75,000, just in TEXAS alone, according to government statistics and growing. Check your facts before you publish!

    Now add in their two parents, never mind the other relatives they will bring here and you have 250,000 people a year or 1 million every 4 years and remember that does not even count all the relatives they will bring here too. And the majority of these children go on to collect welfare. We can not afford to import poverty any longer!

    The 14th amendment was intended for “people under the jurisdiction of the United States”. In other words not people (illegal aliens)who are from another country and under the jurisdiction of the country they came from.

    How poor,overcrowded and disrespectful of the law do we need to get as a nation before this madness of defending illegal aliens stops?

  • Rebecca

    The way the host treated the callers who were not native English speakers was embarassing. It’s important to address the issue of racism in the resurgence of this issue. Historically, as it appears some ppl have already noted, the country experiences waves of grotesque xenophobia (sp?) as larger waves of immigration occur (Chinese exclusion act etc). The man from Costa Rica raised points that are contrary to what the sensationalist news stories report: that there are people who come here without papers and give back to their communities and that most have goals to become a part of, not just take from those communities .It’s also interesting that the liberals who called and are against illegal immigration made no points about the economic factors in the Americas that drive and have driven illegal immigration. Sorry about any sentence structure/spelling problems. Cell phones are a blessing and a curse.

  • ulTRAX

    yar wrote: “I was picking beans as this show aired. I thought to myself that all of these people who want to pretend that they don’t benefit from immigrant labor. Cheap food and cheap services…

    Is THAT your BEST argument to defend illegal immigration? Hell, we as consumers “benefit” from cheap goods from China and other nations that allow their workers to be exploited.

    But that’s not the end of the story. We all pay a greater cost because we undermine our own economy and standard of living. Basic supply and demand dictate the way to higher wages is through protecting domestic industry and restricting the supply of cheap labor.

  • concerned American

    This seems like another effort by certain members in the Republican party to promote their own by preserv-
    ing Democracy for the Few and by keeping immigrants and their children out of mainstream American politcs…

    I imagine they are well aware the GOP won’t survive as a party based on the status quo with the growing trend in American society towards control by multicultural groups and especially births who tend to vote democ-ratic, favor government regulations , labor laws and entitlement programs ….

    (Al Gore was right in 2000 when he said such programs like social security and others should be placed in a blackbox away from Republican control and the free markets..)

    Please read Michael Parenti’s new book, Democracy for the Few on how some have suppressed the vote over time and indeed stolen elections (as they did in 2000 and 2004 )to promote control over such a predatory system.(http://www.michaelparenti.org/DemocracyForFew.html

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    Twenty-niner writes:

    “What I would like to dismantle, however, is the Patriot Act, no fly lists without due process, full-body scanners, unnecessary wars, bailouts for reckless banks, and this ridiculous new health care bill, that as a small business owner, is starting to cause me huge headaches.”

    We certainly agree on all of that. We may disagree on the health care bill in principle–I certainly wanted it to be single-payer, not this force-everyone-to-enrich-insurance-companies monstrosity that we got–but everything else? Hear hear!

    Like I said, libertarianism would be very appealing to me if only it included sympathy for an expanded welfare state.

  • Jim T

    landless writes:

    “Where is the issue of fairness to people waiting to come into the country?”

    If you are little educated and merely want to work hard to better your life and that of your family, you will never be allowed in this country legally. If you are educated and have enough money, you may be able to immigrate legally, but the wait can be many years. If you are 19 or 20 and can hit a 99 mph fastball, you can come in tomorrow. Where is the issue of fairness? We have an immigration system that is unfair, and people ignore laws they consider to be unfair. (Don’t believe it? Put up a 45 mph speed limit sign on the interstate and see how many people obey.)

    “Also, why should we trust the Supreme Court? There is no debate there. They are not responsible to the voters.”

    That’s the reason we have courts. If they were responsible to voters, African Americans would still be going to separate schools and sitting on the back of the bus, and interracial couples would not be allowed to marry.

  • Annie McGinis

    Of any county on this planet, the US’s very existence revolves around a sense of individualism. The American dream itself is built on the idea that a child shouldn’t be punished because of the actions of their parents, that through hard work, and their own actions, they can be successful.

    So think about what happens to these kids that are born in the US to illegal immigrants. They are born in US hospitals, raised in US schools, on US streets, with American friends, speaking American english. Because the risk of returning to their parent’s home country is often too great, many of these children have never left the US. In all that matters, they grow up as american children, and they never know any life but the life of an american.

    If all of the hullabaloo about repealing the 14th amendment becomes real action, these children will no longer be american citizens. This talk is fueled by a desire to punish the parents’ illegal activity. But, what few are discussing in this heated debate, is what will happen to the children? Consider this scenario: A child is born in the US to parents in the country illegally, and is not given US citizenship because of the repeal of the 14th amendment. His parents raise him in the country, in US schools. They don’t teach him their language because they don’t want him to be deemed the “immigrant” amongst their peers. All of his family is in the country, and the family as a whole has quite thoroughly broken ties with their “homeland.” Then, at age 25 immigration catches up to the child, and he is deported. But where will immigration send him? Can they really send him “home,” if the only home he has ever had has been in the US? He has never been in his parent’s country, probably won’t have passport or citizenship from that country, doesn’t speak the language, have any access to resources, doesn’t know anyone there. His life, if it lasted long, would most likely be unspeakably difficult.

    Regardless of how the child was born in the US, it isn’t his fault. He had no part in his parent’s decision to come to the US. The US legal system revolves around two principles, actus reas and mens rea, a guilty act and a guilty mind. For a person to be guilty, they must possess both. Yet in repealing the 14th amendment, this country would sanction the punishment of an innocent child for the actions of his parents. I don’t know how, in a country infamous for individualism, people can stomach that.

  • Polar Bear


    Sounds like you are supporting my argument by providing more evidence. The stories you posted reveal more loopholes in the current law system and I am arguing it’s time to close those loopholes. We should NOT continue rewarding those who took advantage of the law knowing that the good intention of the law is abused.

    As to your suggestion on paying obligated taxes, this is what my family have been practicing in the past decades. We finance each other on different projects now and then, and whoever collected interests on the loan HAVE paid taxes. So I don’t know where your assumptions come from, and I AM CRYING OUT LOUD against people jumping in line ahead of me to get citizenship. Are they more qualified to be a citizen as a result of their parents breaking the law to begin with? And are people like me less qualified for citizenship simply because we follow the rules and respect this country’s law?

    Let’s take a look around the world on birthright citizenship:
    - Canada was the last non-U.S. holdout. Illegal aliens stopped getting citizenship for their babies in 2009.
    - Australia’s birthright citizenship requirements are much more stringent than those of H.R. 1868 and took effect in 2007.
    - New Zealand repealed in 2006
    - Ireland repealed in 2005
    - France repealed in 1993
    - India repealed in 1987
    - United Kingdom repealed in 1983
    - Portugal repealed in 1981

    Does this tell us something?

  • Jim T

    Polar Bear writes:

    “Let’s take a look around the world on birthright citizenship:
    - Canada was the last non-U.S. holdout. Illegal aliens stopped getting citizenship for their babies in 2009.
    - Australia’s birthright citizenship requirements are much more stringent than those of H.R. 1868 and took effect in 2007.
    - New Zealand repealed in 2006
    - Ireland repealed in 2005
    - France repealed in 1993
    - India repealed in 1987
    - United Kingdom repealed in 1983
    - Portugal repealed in 1981

    Does this tell us something?”

    If the subject is gays in the military, recognition of the International Criminal Court, health care, or capital punishment, suggestions by progressives that we should take a look at what other nations do are met with outrage by conservatives. America, we are told, doesn’t model its laws and policies on those of other nations. Bring up the subject of the 14th amendment, and those same folks point to the policies of other nations as models that we should emulate. Doesn’t this tell us something, too?

  • vinced


    No one is talking about revoking the citizenship of those who have already gotten their citizenship through this method.

    We are talking about discontinuing the practice of awarding American citizenship to the kids of illegals. This is not punishing the innocent children, it is refusing to reward the illegal behavior of their parents. Big difference!

    Sorry, but people should not be here illegally in the first place. Many come here just before delivery just so they can have their anchor baby here. Is this right? HELL NO!

    Anchor babies also greatly complicate the process of deporting their parents. They are used as human shields and the courts are reluctant to deport the illegal parent of a citizen child. Well, if that kid wasn’t a citizen there would be no controversy. (There should not be anyways, if I go to jail, I cannot cry about separating me from my family to avoid prison….)

    Honestly, I can think of no logical reason to keep this policy, it is being abused and complicating our efforts (Or lack thereof) to enforce our laws. We are the last developed country to grant birthright citizenship, it’s time to end this nonsense.

  • michael

    “Does this tell us something?””

    that you like to pick and choose which policies to follow from countries most conserv view as “socalist” countries. As well as what parts of the Constitution you wish to follow and what parts to change.

    We could look at there free speech and gun rights as well and it wold look the U.S. is behind as well for most of them.

  • michael

    “and it would look like the U.S. is behind as well for most of the countires you listed.”

  • David

    This is in now way a rational debate. This is xenophobia pure and simple which is being stoked by conservatives for short term political gain.

  • David

    Whoops, I meant in no way.

  • William

    It is good to examine this issue and have a law to deal with the abuse of the 14th Amendment.

  • sara sommers

    I am in shock, hearing that anyone would even consider bringing up such a subject. Unless your ancestors came over on the Mayflower, I doubt that there are many who would qualify to be a U.S. citizen. We are all products of immigrants. The 14th amendment is an important part of our Constitution. Taking the chance of loosing the worlds greatest scientist, physicians,inventors,musicians,etc., seems pretty petty. And, that’s only one thing we risk.
    What do you think would happen to our world trade, tourist, business, and general acceptance from other nations,etc? Already the world is looking at the U.S. and it’s radical partisan politics, as a joke. It is hard enough to get assistance and, participation from other countries as it is.
    What is everyone afraid of? It’s our diversity that made this country the most enviable in the world. At least is was at one time. (Not now.)
    Bearing arms is o.k., but not bearing babies?
    Are you people nuts!!!!!
    Picking, and choosing, which amendments should be changed, should be an issue that is voted on by the people of the country, not the Supreme Court, and certainly not the politicians.
    Such racial “fear” has escalated way beyond reason.

  • vinced

    Sara, I would LOVE to see this voted on by the citizens of this nation!

    The ammendment does not need to be changed, just the interpretation. The authors never intended this to be used in this manner.

    There were 60,000 anchor babies born to illegal aliens in Texas last year, 11,000 in ONE hospital! The numbers of anchor babies approaches a half million nationwide. This is abuse, and an invasion by any standard.

    We allow 1.25 MILLION legal immigrants/yr. A VERY generous number. ~40% are from Mexico. Yet we are somehow racist for wanting to stop illegal migration? Sorry, I don’t think so.

    As far as our international standing, almost all countries will respect this as they do not allow birthright citizenship to non-citizens’s kids.

    Mexico will object, but frankly who cares. They have caused this problem by keeping their masses poor while the rich live like kings. Mexico is a regime that needs to be changed.

    There is a process that allows ammendments to the constitution to be made. One such ammendment permits you, as a woman, to vote. So why is changing the constitution to keep up with the times an issue?

    See the links in my post above for a rational explanation of why excessive immigration is driving our population growth and where this is headed. You’ll find it shocking.

  • sara sommers

    I have read your “rational explanation” and I think you are missing a few important facts.
    And, I’ve read some very good arguments for changing the amendment.
    I suggest you see the movie “A Day Without A Mexican” It’s not an award winner, but it might just open your eyes, before you start to open your mouth.

  • vinced


    That movie is on my list, heard it’s pretty funny.

    As for your hostility, what’s the point? Perhaps you should open your eyes…

    Please present one logical well thought argument as to why the illegals should stay and why we should grant birthright citizenship to the children of non-citizens. So far, I have heard not even one good reason Only emotional rants and false accusations of racism.

    Keep it civil or don’t bother.

  • vinced
  • http://FlusterCucked.blogspot.com Frank the Underemployed Professional

    *** People calling opponents of immigration racists are intellectually dishonest ***

    Advocates of amnesty and mass legal immigration are guilty of extreme intellectual dishonesty when they claim that anyone who opposes amnesty or mass legal immigration is a racist xenophobe.

    In reality, there are several very legitimate non-racial and non-ethnic reasons for opposing immigration.

    (1.) Allowing anyone who wanted to become an American to become an American would (as a practical matter) result in damage to the well-being of other Americans because of population explosion. A higher population means a greater strain on the environment and a higher cost for finite resources such as land, freshwater, oil, coal, natural gas, lumber, fish, and food (high-quality productive arable land exists in finite quantities). Our nation has already suffered from freshwater shortages in some regions of country and our population is currently poised to explode to a third world number of 420-450 million people by 2050. Of course, the poor and the middle class will be the ones who suffer disproportionately.

    Many Americans have cognitive dissonance in that they claim to support environmental concerns while also supporting mass immigration. The problem is that a higher population means more pollution, a larger human footprint on the land, and thus a greater strain on our nation’s environment.

    Everyone who is seriously interested in the immigration issue (you too, Tom Ashbrook) should watch this essential clip from a talk called Immigration by the Numbers. This video should be required viewing before any discussion about immigration can occur:


    (2.) Masses of poor immigrants inflict economic damage on lower class (and often the most vulnerable) Americans by displacing them from their jobs (such as construction work, janitorial services, and meat packing) and by putting downward pressure on wages. At a time when our nation has tens of millions of unemployed and underemployed people, does it really make economic sense to invite millions of poor people into the country to compete with them for jobs? Is it in the rational economic self-interest of these Americans for that to happen? Is it in Americans’ self-interest at all?

    (3.) Most of the immigrants are poor and uneducated which means that whatever jobs they take could not possibly generate enough tax revenue to cover the costs of government-provided welfare, housing, health care, education for children, and any related criminal justice costs they consume. In other words, they are going to cost taxpayers money. It would make more sense to employ currently unemployed poor Americans to do these jobs and to pay them higher wages. It’s better to pay for the welfare, housing, health care, and education for one American family than it is to pay for the welfare, housing, health care, and education for both one immigrant family and one unemployed American family.

    So, in a nutshell, the reasons for opposing immigration in no particular order are:

    (1.) Population Explosion and Environmental concerns.

    (2.) Economic Self-Interest–employment concerns for lower class Americans.

    (3.) Concerns about the costs the poor immigrants would impose on American taxpayers.

    Any one of those reasons is a fully sufficient reason to oppose immigration into the United States. What’s pathetic is that the supporters of amnesty and of mass legal immigration cannot argue against those points and are thus reduced to intellectually bankrupt smear attacks.

  • http://FlusterCucked.blogspot.com Frank the Underemployed Professional

    *** But wait! Without masses of poor immigrants, won’t prices increase? ***

    This argument is flawed because it only considers the front-end costs while completely and perhaps purposely ignoring the huge and invisible back-end costs.

    If we have to pay Americans more money (an American free market rate) to do those “jobs Americans won’t do” for third world wages then the goods and services they are producing will in fact cost more on the front-end. However, it costs more on the back-end than we would spend on the front-end in terms of (1) the costs of welfare and unemployment to support unemployed and poor American families and (2) the costs of paying for any welfare, housing expenses, health care, education, increased criminal justice costs, increased population density costs, and environmental costs resulting from having poor immigrants.

    We pay for these invisible back-end costs in our taxes, quality of life, and standard of living.

    So, in summary, we can choose one of two options:
    (1) We pay for the housing, education, and health care of working poor American families on the front-end in terms of higher prices for goods and services or and less money on the back-end, or

    (2) We pay less money on the front-end for goods and services but now we pay more money on the back-end for the housing, education, and health care of unemployed and underemployed Americans on the back-end in the form of our taxes AND we pay for any welfare, housing expenses, health care, education, increased criminal justice costs, increased population density costs, and environmental costs resulting from having poor tens of millions of poor immigrants.

    In short–we are going to pay for the housing, education, and welfare of poor Americans one way or the other–either in the form of higher prices for goods and services or higher taxes. It makes more sense to simply just pay the money to care for American citizens than it does to pay the money to care for American citizens and tens of millions of impoverished immigrants.

    Contrary to what some may think, you cannot magically obtain wealth for nothing through cheap immigrant labor (or cheap products from China for that matter). We will have to pay for it in some sort of a way either on the front-end or the back-end.

  • http://FlusterCucked.blogspot.com Frank the Underemployed Professional

    Sara Sommers said: “I am in shock, hearing that anyone would even consider bringing up such a subject. Unless your ancestors came over on the Mayflower, I doubt that there are many who would qualify to be a U.S. citizen. We are all products of immigrants.”

    That may be so, but the past is completely irrelevant to the current issue: What is in the rational selfish interests of the American people today? We all occupy this piece of land and have organized a government to manage the land and our society. Given that, what is in our nation’s best interest?

    Sara’s claim is a cute rhetorical appeal, but it lacks any real merit.

    Sara Sommers says: “The 14th amendment is an important part of our Constitution. Taking the chance of loosing the worlds greatest scientist, physicians, inventors, musicians, etc., seems pretty petty.”

    Impoverished immigrants are scientists, physicians, inventors, and musicians? Am I missing something? Note that the opponents of abortion also make a very similar argument.

    Is it possible that in addition to missing out on these alleged scientists, physicians, inventors, and musicians that we might also miss out on potential mass murders, rapists, drunk drivers, muggers, and burglars?

    What do you think would happen to our world trade, tourist, business, and general acceptance from other nations,etc?

    Other nations that themselves have much more stringent immigration policies and that have far far less legal immigration? Those nations? (Ever wondered what Mexico’s immigration policies are like? You might be surprised.)

    Already the world is looking at the U.S. and it’s radical partisan politics, as a joke. It is hard enough to get assistance and, participation from other countries as it is.
    What is everyone afraid of?

    They’re looking at things such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the amount of influence Christianity has on our political system, and our policies on gay marriage and abortion, not our amazingly generous immigration policy.

    To the extent that a few holier-than-thou bleeding heart types in other countries might decry our nation’s immigration policies, it’s often a matter of the pot calling the kettle black.

    It’s our diversity that made this country the most enviable in the world. At least is was at one time. (Not now.)

    It’s not primarily the diversity, but rather the freedom of speech and religion and the nation’s strong economy and innovation.

    Funny thing about people who make the diversity argument is that they fail to realize that the bulk of the illegal aliens (mostly Mexicans) are not diverse! If anything mass illegal immigration works against having diversity because it makes it more difficult to allow for legal immigration (which is open to people around the world and not just in Mexico).

    Bearing arms is o.k., but not bearing babies?
    Are you people nuts!!!!!

    What are you suggesting? That Americans should take in all impoverished infants from around the world and impoverish themselves in the process?

    Picking, and choosing, which amendments should be changed, should be an issue that is voted on by the people of the country, not the Supreme Court, and certainly not the politicians.

    But the people voted for the politicians and the politicians will have to stand for reelection again before them. The politicians are very much aware that it would be a high profile vote and that voters would specifically remember which way they voted. Also, if the people are really unhappy about it, they can always vote them out and undo the amendment by a vote of newly elected politicians who would have pledged to do so.

    I suspect that if we put mass immigration to a popular vote that the majority of Americans would vote against it.

    Such racial “fear” has escalated way beyond reason.

    What’s “beyond reason” is that you cannot make a rational economic argument in favor of mass immigration. All you can do is make pathetic appeals to emotion and call opponents of immigration racists.

  • vinced


    VERY well put. Thanks!

    For those who care about reducing illegal migration, have a look at NumbersUSA.com . NO RACISM TOLERATED!

  • Sandy

    FYI..”Anchor” babies and illegal Mom’s hospital bills are paid for buy the tax payers of this country. Anchor Baby is and receives State Medicaid, food stamps and cash assistance from the day they are born, plus all others born after the first. As long as Mom, or Mom and Dad stay illegal, the children remain elligible for all these benefits until they turn 18 years of age. Citizens of this country can only receive cash benefits for five years out if their life time per welfare reform 1996-1997 laws. Illegal Moms and Dads are not held to the same rules, because as non citizens they are not subject to the welfare laws that govern US citizens. This has gone on for years folks. By the time the last child has turned 18 and the cash flow has stops, the Anchors are applying for parents citizenship and the parent can go on SSI government benefits, which come from the Social Security Funds. Beleive me, this has been happening for years and years, but no government employee was allowed to talk about it. We were not allowed to notify the NIS even when they declared themselves illegal, hospital employees are not allowed to notify NIS either. Check it out for yourselves. I know, I’m retired from an office that handled the welfare benefits for Illegals, and all US taxpayers have paid millions to support Anchor babies and their families for decades. This is nothing new, but it is time for it to stop.

  • semkins

    “…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…” ~14th Amendment

    ILLEGAL aliens, by definition, are NOT being “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”, else they would not be sneaking across our borders. Libs have once again changed the terms of the argument by screaming racism.

  • David

    my wife and I are europeans here legally these last 6 years. we are expecting a baby early next year and were thinking about staying till it is born so it will have citizenship. but then we thought…. the timing isn’t quite right – better to get back to Europe before hand, and citizenship isn’t necessarily that useful. When the kid is 20, the US might be down the toilet at that stage, and if he/she wants to come here he/she can get a visa like we did. And the chances of said kid getting a higher degree to help with that are much higher if he/she grows up in Europe, because even with our own degrees and decent jobs, college would be hard to reach here.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QFQB3RYPV223ZOTPK6CA7UTB6Y Il

    “It’s a constitutional right: If you are born on American soil, you are an American citizen. ”
    VERY incorrect.  Congress already limits those that can have auto citizenship by birth on US soil.  Amazing how many people don’t realize this FACT.

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