by Moses Apsan
The Arizona Congress is at it again. In what appears as a blunderbuss approach to anti-immigrant legislation, they have now decided to target U.S. citizen children; which they call “anchor babies.” These children have at times been useful weapons in keeping their illegal parents from being deported.
If the Arizona Republicans get their way, any child born in the U.S, to illegal immigrants would not automatically be an American Citizen. In fact they would most probably be deportable.
If you had to guess, which State Senator proposed this bill, you would be 100% correct when you name Senator Russell Pierce as the prime proponent of the bill. Remember him; the infamous force behind Senate Bill 1070, the “papers please” law, which obliges police officers to ask about someone’s immigration status during any traffic stop or with reasonable suspicion that the person is not a legal alien.
While SB1070 requires adult immigrants to have documentation of legal residency, the “anchor baby” bill will prevent the next generation from ever being able to become legal in the U.S. According to a Time.com article the plan is to make the process of obtaining citizenship so difficult that illegal immigrants will take “the anchor” and leave.
Arizona will have a slippery slope to conquer if this law is passed as it is diametrically opposed to our Constitution. The 14th Amendment of the Constitution grants citizenship to ""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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." The purpose of the amendment was to provide citizenship for freed slaves and served as a final clarification of the Dred Scott case. In essence it reinforced the federal government's jurisdiction over citizenship.
Pierce says the 14th Amendment has been "hijacked" by illegal immigrants….” This is an orchestrated effort by them to come here and have children to gain access to the great welfare state we've created." Pearce tells reporters that he is aware of the constitutional issues raised by the bill and promises to “…write it right." He points to prevalent sympathy for the law. Some 58% of Americans polled by Rasmussen believe children of illegal immigrants born in the U.S. should not automatically be considered an American Citizen. Interesting that 76% of Republicans believe the same.
Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican would most like support this bill. Recently she said in an interview with ABC Tucson "[i]t is illegal to trespass into our country….The bill won't tear families apart. They can take their children back with them."
Critics of the bill that Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce’s bill would fly in the face of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which grants citizenship to anyone born in the U.S. Many opposing the bill believe that it would lead to more prejudice and segregate the community. Phoenix resident and U.S. citizen Susan Vie is heading a citizen group that’s supporting an opposing ballot initiative. An Argentinean who moved to the U.S. more than 30 years ago she has taken a stance against what many consider one of the most draconian immigration law in our country’s history. "I see a lot of hate and racism behind it," Vie says. "Consequently, I believe it will create — and it's creating it now — a separation in our society." She adds, "When people look at me, they will think, 'Is she legal or illegal?' I can already feel it right now." Vie's proposal would forbid SB1070 from taking effect and place a three-year moratorium on all related laws, including the anchor-baby bill, with the ultimate goal f comprehensive immigration reform.She and the members of her group is racing to accumulate 153,365 signatures by July 1 to be eligible for the Nov. 2 general election.
It is expect the anchor-baby bill, if made into law, will eventually to end up in the U.S. Supreme Court and struck down, before it can go into effect.
Prior attempts to get around the citizenship provisions in the amendment, going back to the late 19th century challenging the citizenship of the children of Chinese immigrants, have been unsuccessful.