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‘Anchor Babies’, Fact or Fiction?

‘Anchor Babie’ is a term coined to describe a legal born American citizen of illegal immigrant parents. The idea is that illegal immigrants are sneaking into the States just before their due date and having the baby in the U.S., thus deeming the new born a legal United States citizen. What are the actual facts behind this concept? Are we really being overrun by the supposed 350,000 such cases as some have stated?

anchor babies away
Rogers / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

MediaMatters.com

Fox & Friends hosted Dan Stein, head of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), to fearmonger both about “anchor babies” and so-called “birth tourism.” But the “anchor baby” concept is a myth, pushed by anti-immigrant groups like FAIR, which is considered a “hate group,” and the number of children born to women visiting the United States is “fairly miniscule.”

Stein Cites Children Of “Illegal Aliens” Born In The U.S. To Argue For Changing The 14th Amendment. On the March 30 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson introduced an interview with FAIR President Dan Stein by discussing reports of alleged birth tourism in which Carlson said, “pregnant women from foreign countries [are] paying thousands of dollars to give birth in the U.S.” Carlson then stated, “So we wondered, how common is this practice?” Stein claimed it’s a “routine occurance.” He continued, tying such actions to children of undocumented immigrants who were born in the United States:

STEIN: The current interpretation [of the 14th Amendment] is defeating the operation of U.S. immigration and entry controls. We are being taken advantage of, snookered — now 350,000 children are born here to mothers here who are illegal aliens. I mean, that’s the size of the city of St. Louis. This is like waking up and finding an additional 10 people living in your house that you didn’t expect all of a sudden, and we’re just being taken advantage of. And to simply — we need to change the interpretation so it’s consistent with the worldwide practices that say a child takes the citizenship of the mother. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/30/11]

In Fact, Study Shows “Anchor Baby” Concept Is A Myth

Pew Research Center Data Shows 91% Of Immigrants Arrived At Least Two Years Before Having A Child. A February 1 Pew Hispanic Center study showed that of the 350,000 immigrants cited by Stein who had children in the United States in 2009, “61% arrived in the U.S. before 2004, 30% arrived from 2004 to 2007, and 9% arrived from 2008 to 2010.” [Pew Hispanic Center, 2/1/11]

Serwer: “People Come To The U.S. To Get Jobs, Not To Have Babies.” In a February 2 post on The American Prospect‘s blog, Adam Serwer wrote that “Contrary to [Sen. Lindsey] Graham’s ‘drop and leave’ theory, only 9 percent of undocumented immigrants had children shortly after arriving, and there’s a distinct lack of evidence that any of them had children for that reason.” Serwer continued:

The data suggests a really shocking conclusion: People come to the U.S. to get jobs, not to have babies. That means that repealing birthright citizenship isn’t likely to stem illegal immigration, because it doesn’t alter the incentives that cause people to come here. It will, without a doubt, lead to higher numbers of undocumented immigrants and the creation of a new, nationless class of children within U.S. borders. If, on the other hand, you’re trying to reduce the population of Latino citizens rather than the number of undocumented immigrants, repealing birthright citizenship is one route to take. [The American Prospect, 2/2/11]

Full article at http://mediamatters.org

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