Wednesday, January 5, 2011

States To Challenge “Anchor Baby” Immigration Policy

Washington – Mexican citizens fleeing warfare between the drug cartels' private armies aim for anchoring their claims for citizenship on holding ground hardened by the birth of a child on American soil.

Some conservative lawmakers would like to change all that and plug what they see as a legal loophole.

A coalition of conservative lawmakers will unveil a controversial challenge to the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law today.

The issue is the “anchor baby” immigration policy that is rooted in the 1868 constitutional amendment guaranteeing equal protection under due process of law.

Children born on U.S. soil are automatically granted citizenship as natural born Americans, regardless of their parents' immigration status – as are babies of natural born or naturalized U.S. citizens.

This policy does not guarantee any legal status to the parents. They are subject to deportation and must face lengthy and exacting requirements to natrualize their citizenship under federal immigration laws.

The U.S. is one of only a handful of nations to grant citizenship in this manner, and it's a thorn in the side of border state conservative lawmakers whose constituents resent the practice, a Supreme Court interpretation first laid down in the 1898 case, United States v. Wong Kim Ark.

Mr. and Mrs. Wong challenged immigration policy by claiming citizenship for their child due to the language of the amendment, which guarantees due process of law to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”

Historians have labeled the 14th Amendment as a repudiation of the Dred Scott case, which held that persons of African descent could never be American citizens due to the condition of involuntary servitude of their parents and ancestors in Dred Scott v. Sandford.

Under the proposed new law, there would be two distinct classes of citizenship for new born children, one for natural born individuals who are the children of American citizens, the other for the children of non-citizens whose immigration status is not legal.

Arizona legislator John Kavanagh told “The New York Times” that, “This is not a far-out, extremist position.”

Most liberal critics have objected to the movement as extremist and unconstitutional.

Incoming Missouri Attorney General Kris Kobach, a law professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, who drafted the proposed law, the details of which will be revealed today, is tight-lipped about the exact provisions of his proposal.

“I can't really say much more without showing my hand,” he said. “But, yes, I am confident that the law will stand up in court.”

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