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Friday, September 03, 2010

Opposing View On 'Anchor Babies': Reject Birthright Citizenship

By Roy Beck, NumbersUSA: Birthright citizenship is a powerful anchor for keeping illegal workers in a country — and for keeping the jobs they fill out of reach of unemployed legal residents. It is incompatible with a modern age of easy transportation and organized people smuggling. Every developed nation in the world, — except the USA and Canada, — has rejected citizenship for births to tourists and unlawful foreign residents.

An estimated 4 million current U.S. residents have received this type of citizenship. Who’s hurt by this? Millions of poor American children live in families suffering from unemployment or depressed wages because an estimated 7 million illegal foreign workers are holding construction, manufacturing, service and transportation jobs. Anything that slows the decision of illegal workers to go back home prolongs the disadvantaging of the 30 million less-educated Americans and legal immigrants who don’t have a job and who generally seek work in the same non-agricultural industries where most illegal workers are found.

Birthright citizenship is a major anchor for illegal workers already here who are led to feel that their birthright citizen children may give them a claim to remain. Note that one of the loudest arguments for giving illegal workers permanent work permits is that it would be wrong to make them go back home if they have U.S. citizen children. Of course, ending birthright citizenship is not enough. Congress should pass the SAVE Act to impede outlaw businesses from hiring illegal workers, and take other actions to protect legal U.S. workers from an immigration system that is importing hundreds of thousands of working-age immigrants annually during a jobs depression. With unemployment high and wages stagnant in most occupations, we don’t have labor shortages and don’t need additional foreign labor (or the illegal labor already here).

Scholars make strong arguments on both sides of what the 14th Amendment’s birthright citizenship provision means. Only the Supreme Court can say, and it has never ruled about tourists and illegal residents. For now, Congress should leave the Constitution alone and pass legislation (H.R. 1868) that simply clarifies the birthright provision in current immigration law — and then see how the Court rules.
Roy Beck is executive director of NumbersUSA, an immigration-reduction organization.

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