Several works have been rendered by authors and legal as well as anti-immigrant commentators to probe into the legal validity and the legitimacy of the existence of anchor babies as okay as if there are more benefits than inconveniences. It is necessarily necessary, from the beginning of this article, to make a description of who an anchor baby is.
The term ‘anchor babies’ is metaphorical in that it is intended to expose the sinister tactic of getting a baby worked by undocumented families and staff, so that the latter, being a U.S citizen would at some point in life apply for a family’s legal residence under the concept of family reunification. Generally speaking, an anchor baby can be described as being born to an illegal immigrant or undocumented parent, especially in the United States of America, who is born by the operation of the U.S law acquires automatic citizenship thus sponsoring the citizenship of other relatives into America. According to the principle jus soli, any baby delivered in the United States automatically acquires U.S citizenship. This doctrine is bolstered by dint of section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment which provides as follows;
‘All persons born or naturalized in the United States, residents of the United States, and the state in which they live are subject to their jurisdiction. Any State shall make or impose any law that abbreviates certain privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States…’
Being inclusive, the doctrine of jus solirenders anyone to become part of U.S citizens merely through birth; citizenship, therefore, becomes a birthright. A closely related theory is that of jus sanguinis, restrictively though in its application. This is in the sense that it solely defines citizenship by blood.
In the U.S, the law on citizenship allows for citizenship under both jus soli and jus sanguines well as by naturalization, viz by the operation of the law to move from a legal permanent resident to citizen. As such, the public debate insinuated above has focussed on alterations of such doctrines which have the effect of tendering an amendment of the U.S Constitution. Efforts have been made towards this course. For instance, the bill by Representative Elton Gallegly (Republican from Simi Valley California) who in June 1995 recommended in vain an amendment to the U.S Constitution to terminate automatic citizenship for U.S born children whose parents are undocumented immigrants. H Other efforts include the enactment of several legislation such as the U.S Citizens Reform Act 2005 and the Birthright Citizenship Act 2007.
It has been cued that an alarming number of undocumented women give birth to such children for the sole and only reason that they are ‘anchors’ so that they defeat their deportation. This allegation, however, has been criticized as been ungrounded for the following reasons. Firstly, that there exists no compelling evidence that such undocumented female parents do use this plot; and secondly, there is a lack of a tangible excuse that such a strategy is a viable way to avoid deportation. The latter stems from the practicality of the procedure itself. This is because; a child-like that may not be able to support the parents at all, particularly not at a time convenient to them. The law allows them to have the capacity to apply for reunification in which the process can take several years to complete.
Even although there’s meager or no evidence the anchor baby’s strategy is rampantly in use, conservative lawmakers have since proposed an amendment in the U.S Constitution to retrogressively revoke children’s citizenship if their parents are not registered citizens at the time of the birth. Consequently, the bill was to affect The Government shall expel these children at any point in their lives and within reach of the law.
The Pros and Cons of ‘Anchor Babies’
Access to Citizenship
The presence of a legal channel where non-registered or documented workers and families gain access to citizenship is a fulfilled quest for the realization of human rights inherent in it. It is taking into account the dehumanizing status and circumstances that are the focus of the above group of men. It cannot be argued that these individuals are succumbing to a constant fear of apprehension, lousy treatment, and imprisonment which has a negative bearing on every crook and crony of their lives ranging from medical care education to housing.
Freedom from Fear and Mistreatment
S.1348 of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform would be capable of freeing the immigrants from fear to improve their lives and standards of living through cautious enforcement of their socio-economic rights such as their right to better jobs in housing and general welfare. And that is precisely what the United States’ noble ideals of freedom and equality are all about.
Impossible Path to Citizenship
One major disadvantage of ideals against anchor babies, a virulent vice that is also reflected under section 1348, is that it makes an impossibility to achieve citizenship for the majority of the existing illegal immigrant in the land consequent of which an upsurge of millions of low-wage earning U.S citizens devoid of voting rights.
The law holds that an immigrant raises an upfront amount of $5,000 in fines as well as $2,000 for “processing fees,” which are unreasonable terms for low-wage earners. Furthermore, there is a requisite that the head of the household who in most cases id the wage earner to escheat to their home countries and then re-enter the U.S. Only very few would be financially able to do this, and if they did, they ran a risk of losing their jobs.
Another possible disadvantage is population overgrowth which is an enormous hurdle to the efforts seeking to stabilize the U.S. population to allow for ecological sustainability and an excellent motivation for much of the unlawful immigration.
The idea of denying birth-right citizenship broaches fundamental issues. In Homo Sacer, Giorgio Agamben poses, ‘who and what is German?’ or ‘who and what is not German’. The intricacy here is that the rights and privileges that abound to a citizen are not absolute and fixed in our current times. Individually, the power of persons to be delivered into a nation might not be as permanent and alienable as it would have been previously contemplated.
- Minutemen; The Battle to Secure America’s Borders-pg 38
- Karen K; Illegal Immigration EBook –pg 56
- Leo Ralph C; The Latino Threat- pg 4-9
- The Founders of on Citizenship and Immigration Principles pg 26 http://civilliberty.about.com/od/immigrantsrights/g/Anchor-Babies-Definition.htm
-  ibid