National Data | Anchor Babies, Family "Reunification": The View From Kennedy Airport
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On August 4th I reviewed the "anchor baby" phenomenon—babies born to illegal immigrant mothers, automatically U.S. citizens thanks to the current misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment.

An estimated 383,000 such infants were born in 2002. They accounted for nearly one out of every 10 births in America.

Now a reader has sent these personal observations.

"I have been an Immigration Inspector/ CBP Officer for the last 2 years at JFK airport. Your article on illegal aliens having babies in the U.S. just to get U.S. citizenship really hit home. I am unfortunate enough to experience this abuse of the 14th amendment on almost a daily basis…"       

"I have tried on numerous occasions to deny entry to tourists who were 8 months pregnant and obviously only coming to the U.S. to have their baby. On EVERY occasion I have been over ruled by my Supervisor, and the only thing done was 'limit' their stay to a few weeks, even when the pregnant female tourist is traveling with a child with a U.S. passport who was born in the US on a previous 'vacation.' 

"I have even had passengers with B1/B2 tourist visas come before me for inspection traveling with children who have U.S. passports and are coming to the U.S. to visit their illegal alien parents. I know their parents are illegal because the adult traveling with the child outright admits it!

"This is how much respect people have for our Immigration laws. The sad thing is the illegal alien parent could be waiting right outside the Federal inspection area—and because of the port policy of JFK I am powerless to do anything."

Nearly 20 million tourists enter the nation each year (Table 1). They were all screened, of course, especially air passengers. But Homeland Security acknowledges an "open door" policy regarding tourists and most other non-immigrant classes of admission. There is no limit placed on the numbers entering each year. Nor, apparently, are those "tourists" entering under obvious false pretenses culled out.

The reader goes on to debunk another sacred cow of U.S. immigration policy—"family reunification":

"Also, I wonder if the geniuses who passed the family reunification act are aware that 90 percent of passengers that I come across with I-551s [green cards] stay outside of the US for over 6 months. So much for needing to be with your family in the US. I have come across passengers with I-551s who were outside of the US over 2 years, did not have the required travel document for extended stay overseas, but were admitted into the US without so much as a warning."

The U.S. is the only industrial country that, on the excuse of "family reunification", allows unbridled immigration of non-nuclear extended family members of American citizens.

Had immigration been restricted just to "nuclear" family members—parents, spouses, dependent children—only 486,746 immigrants would have been entered in 2002, less than half the actual legal influx. (Table 1.)

Any serious attempt to reform legal immigration must revisit the anchor-baby and family re-unification issues.

Edwin S. Rubenstein (email him) is President of ESR Research Economic Consultants in Indianapolis.

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