Thursday, September 9, 2010

Abolishing automatic citizenship for the children of illegals would increase illegal immigration?

The report below says so but is just playing with words. To put the matter more plainly: It would alter the status of some people already in the USA -- not lead to more illegal border crossings.

And the "threat" of there being a permanent illegal class in the USA as a result does not really alter much as that is already the case. Such a "threat" also assumes that immigration law enforcement will always be as lax as it is now, which is not necessarily the case.

The legal difficulties involved are also overstated. Congress has the right to specify the jurisdiction of SCOTUS. It could simply add to any new bill that SCOTUS has no jurisdiction over the 14th amendment -- and that would be the end of any legal issues. Given the political rather than the judicial nature of many past SCOTUS decisions, that might in fact cause SCOTUS to retreat from activism in other areas, which would surely be desirable

Repealing birthright citizenship under the 14th Amendment would actually increase illegal immigration rather than decrease it, according to a nonpartisan report.

The Migration Policy Institute says that by denying automatic citizenship to U.S.-born babies of undocumented immigrants, the nation’s illegal immigrant population would grow to 16 million over the next 40 years, an increase of at least 5 million people.

“It would be ironic if proposals intended to reduce the undocumented population had the unintended consequences of increasing the undocumented population,” said Michael Fix, MPI’s senior vice president and director of studies, who co-authored the report.

The report, released by the Washington-based think tank on Wednesday, states that of those projected 16 million illegal immigrants, 4.7 million would be born in the United States. And 1 million of those would have two parents born in the U.S.

“Repeal would lead to the establishment of a permanent unauthorized population,” said the report’s main author, Jennifer Van Hook, a sociology and demography professor at Pennsylvania State University.

By ending birthright citizenship, Van Hook added, the share of children in the U.S. without documents would double to 4 percent of the country’s total child population.

Some Republicans have argued that birthright citizenship guaranteed under the 14th Amendment should be repealed, and several GOP leaders have called for hearings on the issue.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) sparked a national debate over the issue when he suggested this summer that some immigrants were illegally crossing the border for the express purpose of giving birth so their children could obtain citizenship.

A constitutional amendment, which Graham has explored, would be a long shot, given the high hurdles backers would need to clear for ratification. But Republicans introduced a House bill last year that they say would achieve much the same goal: deny citizenship to U.S.-born children when both parents are undocumented.

Under that scenario, the illegal immigration population would expand to about 16 million, the MPI report said.

But if changes to the law deny birthright citizenship to children with illegal immigrant mothers, then the unauthorized population would be about 19 million by 2050. And if the law is restricted to children with an undocumented mother or father, the unauthorized population would swell to 24 million during that same period.

The illegal immigration population would remain flat through 2050 if there is no change in the law, the report said.

The analysis assumes that illegal immigrants will continue to behave as they do today, i.e., have children and die at the same rates as they do now.


The Costs of Birthright Citizenship

Hans A. von Spakovsky

There have been numerous debates about “birthright” citizenship in recent weeks. As the Heritage Foundation has pointed out, the claim that the 14th Amendment confers citizenship on the children of visitors or illegal aliens is mistaken. Neither the text nor the legislative history supports such an interpretation.

Perspective is needed. How many other countries have birthright citizenship? How many such children are there in the United States, and how much is this costing us? The Center for Immigration Studies has just released a study by Jon Feere that gives some answers. The report didn’t get the attention it should have -- perhaps because it has some very inconvenient truths.

Feere’s research found that the “overwhelmingly majority of the world’s countries do not offer automatic citizenship to everyone born within their borders.” Only 30 countries out of 194 offer automatic citizenship, CIS confirmed. Of the 31 counties listed on the International Monetary Fund’s list of advanced economies, only the United States and Canada grant automatic birthright citizenship.

No country in Europe, a continent many liberals often cite for its supposedly superior views on everything from government health care to high tax rates, grants automatic citizenship. The trend has been toward eliminating it in the few countries that grant it. Australia, Ireland, India, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom have all jettisoned this policy.

CIS estimates there are 300,000 to 400,000 children born to illegal immigrants in the U.S. each year. There were 2.3 million such children in 2003; there were four million in 2008 – and that number doesn’t include children who are older than 18 or who are married. Texas says that between 60,000 to 65,000 of the children born in Texas every year have parents who are not citizens or 16% of the total births in the state -- 542,152 from 2001 to 2009.

And the hundreds of thousands of such children are no accident. Many of them are the result of a deliberate effort by illegal aliens and foreign tourists to exploit our law and use these children to keep themselves in the country. Such children provide access to welfare benefits that would otherwise be off-limit to the parents and can “ultimately initiate chain migration of the child’s extended family and in-laws,” the CIS study notes.

Take federal welfare programs. Although illegal aliens normally are barred from accessing them, they can obtain benefits such as Medicaid, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, and food stamps on behalf of their U.S.-born children. Since cash welfare benefits and food stamps are fungible within a household, there is no question that welfare spending directed at the children of illegal immigrants will also benefit the parents. It is also quite likely that a substantial portion of the medical costs of births to illegal aliens are funded through the Medicaid program.

CIS estimates that 40% of illegal alien households nationwide receive some type of welfare despite federal prohibitions. That rate is even higher in states with larger numbers of illegal aliens such as New York (49%), California (48%), and Texas (44%).

Contrast that very high rate with the fact that only 19% of households headed by a native-born citizen receive welfare benefits. CIS cites data released by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services showing that the children of illegal aliens in the county received $50 million in welfare benefits just in February 2010. So much for federal efforts to bar illegal aliens from receiving taxpayer-funded public assistance.

As for chain migration, CIS points out that when a child becomes an adult, he can “legalize his parents, and also to bring into the United States his foreign-born spouse and any foreign-born siblings. The sponsored spouse can, in turn, sponsor her own foreign-born parents and siblings, and the siblings can, in turn sponsor their own foreign–born spouses, and so on, generating a virtually never-ending and always-expanding migration chain.” This type of immigration is almost uncontrollable. It “accounts for most of the nation’s growth in immigration levels,” and it continues to grow every year “because of the ever-expanding migration chains that operate independently of any economic downturns or labor needs.”

According to CIS, America’s citizenship policy has also led to the growth of a “birth tourism” industry since the State Department is “not permitted to deny a woman a temporary visitor visa simply because she is pregnant.” This may be a relatively minor problem relative to the hundreds of thousands of children born to illegal immigrants who reside in the country. But it illustrates how some foreigners who don’t even live in the U.S. are taking advantage of this policy. The fact that it can exist at all even on a limited scale is very troubling.

The Tucson Medical Center in Arizona, for example, “actively recruits in Mexico” for expectant mothers and offers them a “birth package.” Three California Chinese-owned “baby care centers” recruit foreign mothers to give them the ability to have their babies in the United States and “take advantage” of the law according to the owners (who started the business after coming to the U.S. to have their own child). Turkish doctors and hotel owners (including the Marmara Hotel in Manhattan) have set up a birth tourism business that has “reportedly arrang[ed] the U.S. birth of 12,000 Turkish children since 2003” in order to obtain U.S. citizenship because, as one of the Turkish mothers said, “American citizenship has so many advantages.”

Birthright citizenship is not mandated by the 14th Amendment and the Supreme Court has never held that children born of individuals who are in the United States illegally are citizens -- only that the children of individuals who are born to legal permanent residents are citizens. Conferring citizenship on those whose parents are here illegally is a policy that has developed almost by default by the executive branch, with no deliberation by Congress through the normal legislative process used to decide important public policy issues.

“Americans are justifiably upset with a policy that has become standard practice without their approval,” CIS notes. Small wonder, since not only are our laws being taken advantage of by those who are seeking to evade our normal immigration rules, but the economic costs to the country and the average citizen-taxpayer are enormous.


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