Feature

Immigration

Closing the ‘birthright’ door.

What does it mean to be born in the USA? asked The Washington Post in an editorial. Not much, if a group of Republican House members get their way. The latest mean-spirited plan to tackle illegal immigration comes from Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, who wants to end the practice of granting automatic citizenship to anyone born on U.S. soil. Tancredo contends that 'œbirthright citizenship' only encourages illegal immigrants to sneak into America, and rewards them if they manage to stay here long enough to have a baby. Tancredo and his fellow 'œanti-immigrant demagogues' face the 'œsmall problem' that birthright citizenship is guaranteed by the Constitution. But while Tancredo scrambles to find a loophole, other members of Congress 'œought not follow him on this ugly and fruitless path.'

What's so ugly about protecting U.S. citizenship? said The Washington Times in an editorial. Illegal immigrants are abusing the 14th Amendment, which was passed to guarantee citizenship for slaves and their descendants after the Civil War. More than a century later, it's being used to reward the hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals who sneak into the U.S. every year. The statistics tell the story, said the Chattanooga, Tenn., Times Free Press. One in 10 babies born in the U.S. is the child of illegal aliens. These children are known as 'œanchor babies' because they give the entire family a foothold in the States. Not only does the child himself earn automatic U.S. citizenship, but eventually his relatives become eligible for benefits, which puts a 'œtremendous' burden on American taxpayers. Congress should not 'œallow this racket to continue.'

Tamar Jacoby

The Wall Street Journal

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