Joe Levi:
a cross-discipline, multi-dimensional problem solver who thinks outside the box – but within reality™

Illegal Immigration and Anchor Babies

Utah legislators are considering passing their own form of immigration reform. Why? Because the Federal Government isn’t.

In question is a larger “issue:” illegal aliens who come across the border and birth a child. This child is referred to as an Anchor Baby or a Jackpot Baby, anchoring the illegal parents in the country with their “legal citizen” child and allowing them to “hit the jackpot” and obtain social services for the illegal mother and citizen child.

But where does it say that someone born in the United States is automatically a citizen? For that we need look no further than the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which states “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.”

That’s where things get interesting… “All persons born … in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof … ” What does that last part mean, “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”?

Congressional records of the original debate on the Amendment, the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” was specifically inserted to make it clear that a person is not a citizen simply by the location of their birth. The intent allegedly being that children born to foreign citizens would fall under the jurisdiction of their parent’s respective governments, unless their parents are entirely under the jurisdiction of the United States.1

If we don’t want to remove a parent’s rights to make decisions for their minor children, the children (although born in the USA) are still dependants of their non-citizen parents, and therefore subject to the jurisdiction of their parents; their parents (being non-citizens) are subject to the jurisdiction of their own country, not of the USA or the state in which they (illegally) reside.

In that context, for a person to be a US citizen, they must be born in and their parents subject to the jurisdiction of the USA; since the parents are illegally resident they are not subject to the jurisdiction of the USA, and therefore any children born in the USA fail to meet the second half of the requirements to be a US citizen as defined in the 14th Amendment.

The other option, if the parents want their child to be a US citizen, would be to remove their parental rights and give the child to the State, thereby transferring the Jurisdiction requirement to the State and allowing the child to be a US Citizen. Theoretically the child would be adopted by a family of US Citizens and raised as a US Citizen. Perhaps that’s the solution, any child born in the US to non-citizen parents must either return with their parents to their country of origin, or be removed from the illegal environment and placed into protective custody by the State, severing all ties with the illegal parents.



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2 Responses

  1. DG says:

    You’re misinterpreting the law. Ordinarily any person, including illegal immigrants, is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. I mean, are you serious? If that were not so, they would be immune to any prosecution.

    Actually, “Subject the jurisdiction of..” is meant to apply to those with diplomatic immunity, not to everyday joes. Unless these illegal immigrants are secretly ambassadors, these “anti anchor baby” laws are unconstitutional.

    I can see why many people though would want to conveniently misinterpret the 15th amendment. It could be very convenient if it had a clause that allowed citizenship to be defined arbitrarily, wouldn’t it?

  2. Joe says:

    Very true and good points. The intent of my post was to spur intellectual debate, and I’m glad someone posted their thoughts on the matter in this forum.

    That said, I do think that regardless of whether or not the child is born in the United States, the parents should still be arrested by any law enforcement and held for the INS and mandatory deportation.

    The child, since he/she is a legal citizen, would then be placed in protective custody/foster care until (1) the parents became naturalized citizens (no preferential treatment), or (2) turned 18.

    This would also be public knowledge and stiffly enforced; thereby sending a message to the illegal community:

    If you’re not here legally and want to keep your kids, go back to your home country and come in the legal way.

    If you’re planning on coming in illegally, you’re risking loosing your future kids.


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