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!