On the current attempts to bludgeon innocent children with a Constitutional Amendment

August 23, 2010 | By | 7 Replies More

The arguments for the proposed amendment to strip innocent children of citizenship by altering the Fourteenth Amendment do not pass muster from the viewpoint of long-standing American values. An unspoken and insidious agenda is being pursued under the alleged concerns of “saving tax dollars” or “protecting our borders!”

Most of the 27 Constitutional Amendments passed so far limit the powers of the government or expand or protect the liberties of the people. The proposed anti-immigrant change does neither of these things.  I would also oppose the proposed changes to the Fourteenth Amendment as unnecessarily cruel and punitive to an innocent class of persons, infants and children who have done no one any wrong.

Yet some are now arguing for a Constitutional change to exclude from U.S. citizenship those children born to one or more illegal aliens (or to foreign visitors). For this reason some supporters of the constitutional amendment call the children “anchor babies.” To be sure, this term is a code word most often referring to children of Mexican descent.

The process of becoming a citizen based on the fact that at least one of your children is a US citizen is lengthy and it cannot begin until the child is 21 and makes earnings of at least 125% of the US poverty threshold. Thus, temporary or illegal immigrants who have babies in the US have no means of remaining legally in the US; they must return home and wait until the child reaches age 21. There is no “speed pass” to US citizenship for the parents of US citizens who are here illegally or on a tourist visa.

Some people argue that they support the proposed amendment because of the costs to federal, state and local governments of providing services to the US born and citizen children of illegal immigrants.  However, some recent estimates say that services provided to so-called “anchor babies” amount to more than $6 billion annually. Such an annual cost is about the same as few days’ of U.S. expenditures for our unfunded war efforts in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The illegal alien parents of U.S. citizen children pay federal, state and local taxes, including property taxes, but they are not themselves eligible for federal, state or local benefits, including Social Security, Medicare or the recently enacted healthcare reform laws. Some say much or all of the income earned by illegal immigrants is paltry, it’s paid in cash and no taxes are taken out, but this is unsupported speculation and overlooks clear violations of the law by employers which hardly augurs for any amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

If there are real problems with the protection of our borders, then those are the specific issues that should be addressed, but not any Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

If there are problems with employers hiring illegal aliens or paying under the table so as to evade federal, state or local employment laws or to evade paying taxes by employers or their employees, then that is the problem to be addressed, but not by any Amendment to the US Constitution.

If there is a problem with the system of financial supports which are available to the children of illegal aliens, then those are what should be addressed, but not by any Amendment to the U.S. Constitution!



Category: Bigotry, Politics

About the Author ()

imothy E. Hogan is a trial attorney, a husband, a father of two awesome children and a practicing Roman Catholic in St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Hogan has done legal and political work in Jefferson City, Missouri for partisan and non-partisan social change, environmental and consumer protection groups. Mr. Hogan has also worked for consumer advocate Ralph Nader in Washington, DC and the members of the trial bar in the State of New York. Mr. Hogan’s current interests involve remaining a full time solo practitioner pioneer on the frontiers of justice in America, a good husband and a good father to his awesome children.

Comments (7)

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  1. Tony Coyle says:


    I agree wholeheartedly with your post. This constitutional attack is part of the same program (I hesitate to use the word strategy, it seems too paltry for that) – a war on "the other" being waged by the intemperate and illogical rabid right.

    Attacks on "the other" are becoming commonplace, and seem no longer worthy of media comment or scrutiny. Indeed it seems the media exist only to fan the flames of controversy, valid or not.

    What happened to the country that welcomed visitors and immigrants with Lady Liberty's dedication?

    Give me your tired, your poor,

    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.

    I lift my lamp beside the golden door

    I know the same, real, welcoming America is still here. But it seems that real America is being shouted down by brash, noisy, intemperate bigots, cheered on by a media looking for 'news' and controversy – even if it is completely fabricated.

    (perhaps that's worthy of an opinion post – where is the line between fabricated news and fabricated 'reality tv'?)

  2. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    A couple of thoughts on this issue:

    While the neocons make the most noise about respecting the Constitution, it seems (at least to me) that they are the same crowd who disrespect it the most by seeking to change it for every political whim.

    Disallowing citizenship rights to children born on US soil for non-citizen parents, would create in perpetuity a disenfranchised underclass, a large underclass, with no access to representation in the government. It would effectively create an official state of apartheid in this country.

  3. Ben says:

    "What Is A Terror Baby?"

    Terror babies are the product of a new, complex and patient plot being cooked up by today’s terrorists. These terrorists are hiring pregnant women, namely Mexican women, to sneak into America and have children.

    These children, by technicality, are American citizens and have full rights once born on American soil. After being born and getting their birth certificates, these children are then sneaked back into Mexico, where they will then be shipped back to the Middle East.


  4. Brynn Jacobs says:


    The Christwire site to which you link is hilarious, or it would be if it weren't such clever and devastating satire. Reminds me of Poe's law:

    Poe's Law points out that it is hard to tell parodies of fundamentalism (or, more generally, any crackpot theory) from the real thing, since they both seem equally insane. Conversely, real fundamentalism can easily be mistaken for a parody of fundamentalism. For example, some conservatives consider noted homophobe Fred Phelps to be so over-the-top that they argue he's a "deep cover liberal" trying to discredit more mainstream homophobes.

  5. Tim Hogan says:

    Ben, you're kidding, right?

  6. It just keeps getting more surreal…

    Back at the beginning of the 20th century, in the run-up to WWI, early IQ tests were administered at Ellis Island and other point of entry. It turned out an overwhelming number of immigrants tested at moron level or below and this served as the basis for legislation to restrict future immigration.

    Of course, the tests were all administered in English, which most of these people didn't speak much less read.

    Some things never change.

  7. This kind of nonsense is more of the same sort of weak-mindedness you see in all paranoid states. It's an attempt to somehow find a way of guaranteeing some sort of reliable patriotism without actually doing real work—like understanding people or accommodating different ideas or adapting to changed circumstances. Nativist movements are all about narrowing the possibilities so very little changes.

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