Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Myth of The "Anchor Baby"

Forbes has an interesting new article: The Myth Of The 'Anchor Baby.'

It discusses how some (privileged) women travel to the United States late in pregnancy with the specific goal of attaining U.S. citizenship for their offspring. Forbes cites a 2010 WaPo article on point. I'll note there was also a 2013 segment of the now-cancelled Brian Williams vehicle Rock Center on this topic, which called the phenomenon "Birth Tourism."

The Forbes article notes (what is obvious to most of our dear readers) that a minor child's U.S. citzenship won't confer lawful status on their parents nor prevent their deportation. And that the U.S. citizen child cannot sponsor their parents' immigration until they reach age of 21.

The article concludes:

"As for education in the meantime, unless the child can show legal guardianship or custody by a U.S. or Canadian citizen that would give them permission to reside in North America, they will not be able to study here, either."

It's that last bit that gives me some pause. A U.S. citizen does not need "permission" to reside in North America. Certainly, parents could send a USC child to live with family or friends in the United States. Or even pay an individual in the United States to care for their child. And, for college students, they could live in the United States entirely on their own.

I do appreciate the writer's efforts to downplay concerns over "anchor babies." After all, as Professor Olivas brought to my attention yesterday, we live in a world where a U.S. Congressman (Gohmert for the record) has taken the position that we should not merely worry about "anchor babies" but "terror babies." As the Fifth Circuit summarized in footnote 1 of a recent opinion

Rep. Gohmert’s statement on the floor of the House of Representatives about “terror babies,” in which Rep. Gohmert claimed that a retired FBI agent had told him the FBI was investigating overseas terrorism cells planning to place pregnant women in the United States. According to Gohmert, the women were to have a baby or babies and return back overseas to raise the children, now U.S. citizens, to become future terrorists, so the children could someday return to “destroy our way of life.” 156 Cong. Rec. H4867 (daily ed. June 24, 2010) (statement of Rep. Gohmert).

Le sigh. For the record, Gohmert's statements are entirely consistent with Harlan Coben's novel Long Lost.



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