The state of Iowa's Fifth District Congressional Representative, Steve King (with an A+ grade from Numbers USA), is expected to head up the House Immigration Subcommittee when the the new Congress starts up in January of 2011. In that capacity, King (who is also considered a 2012 presidential possibility) has pledged to take up the birthright citizenship question. According to CBS News,
Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King said in an interview with CBS News today that he is "looking at dropping a bill early in the 112th Congress" to end the practice of giving U.S. citizenship to U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants... He said he expected hearings "in the next couple months" after the legislation is introduced.
Go for it!
King says that the clause "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof" means that babies born to illegal immigrants do not necessarily have Constitutionally-protected citizenship rights. He also argues that it is important to consider the history behind the amendment, which was adopted in 1868. "The 14th Amendment and that specific clause was put in place immediately post-Civil War for the purpose of ensuring that babies born to newly freed slaves would be American citizens," he said, adding that it had nothing to do with citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants. King told CBS News that the "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" clause was included at the time to exempt babies born to diplomats and certain Native Americans who were living on reservations, and that the clause can also be applied to children born to illegal immigrants.
Allow me to point out that every anchor baby born to Mexican parents is already considered a Mexican by Mexican law. See here.
The Iowa congressman [Steve King] argues the change is necessary because of an "anchor baby industry" that exists to exploit the law, which he says incentivizes immigrants to enter the United States to have children. King says that between one in six and one in 12 (or between 340,000 and 720,000) babies born in the United States are born to illegal immigrants, who take advantage of the baby's legal status to gain government benefits.
Of course, there is opposition:
Those on the other side say the number of people who are motivated to come to America to create "anchor babies" is small and argue it could be dealt with by outlawing the practice, not eliminating birthright citizenship. Eliminating birthright citizenship "would punish the innocent children of undocumented immigrants, which flies in the face of American values," according to Michele Waslin, Senior Policy Analyst at the Immigration Policy Center.
"Punishing the innocent?" Does that mean that everybody in the world who isn't an American citizen is being punished?
Asked about criticisms that eliminating birthright citizenship goes against the American values of inclusiveness, King said that by critics' arguments "everybody born on the planet should be included" as citizens. "You have to draw the line somewhere," he said.
Of course, eliminating the anchor baby loophole is not easy, and it not likely to be accomplished quickly. But King has a long-term view.
King said he believes a law to change the policy should be passed without worrying about potential legal challenges. If the law is ultimately struck down in the courts, King said, he would push for a Constitutional Amendment to address the issue, though he acknowledged "it would be difficult" to get an amendment passed. If a law ending birthright citizenship passes the House, it would still need to get through the Democrat-led Senate and then be signed into law by President Obama to take effect - an unlikely proposition. King said he views his effort as just one step in a process, comparing his work on birthright citizenship to the six years he spent working to make English Iowa's official language, which took place in 2002. "I have a perspective about the degree of difficulty, but I think you have to do the right thing," he said.
Steve King: "Birthright Citizenship" Bill Could Be Soon Brian Montopoli, Nov. 22nd, 2010 World Net Daily also ran a story on Representative King and Birthright Citizenship:Anchor Babies Away! Congress Eyes '180-Degree Turn' , Eugene J. Koprowski, Nov. 22nd, 2010. It reported that
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Immigration, told WND the issue over the newborn children of illegal aliens who come into the United States — and whether they then can bring in their extended family legally through the citizenship acquired by the newborn — will be discussed in the hearings.
King said, "We need to set up a committee schedule, listen to testimony, and gather other data to craft well-informed legislation. There's been a lot of scholarship on this problem that needs to be entered into the public record and acted on. "This is something that will be a priority for the new Congress, something we need to position ourselves and move on quickly," he said.
Once again, King is looking at the bigger picture:
There are extensive "coyote" networks shepherding these women into the country, often working with Mexican or Chinese mafiosi to do so. The cost to bring the pregnant women to the U.S. is somewhere between $5,000 and $15,000, said King. The cost for Chinese mothers is "on the higher end," he added. "Illegal immigration is out of control," said King. "There is a whole illegal industry pushing this." Those costs of the underground business do not, however, even compare to the expense of having the women give birth at American hospitals, where it typically costs around $30,000 to deliver the child, King said. King said he knows of a story of a pregnant woman from Mexico who bore five kids and whose hospital bill ran up over $100,000, all left to the tab of the U.S. taxpayer.
Regarding the new Congress, it would be great if what this individual says is true:
It was Scott F. Cooper, partner and managing attorney in the Troy, Mich., office of Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy and a part-time professor of constitutional law, who said, "This is a preview of how the next Congress will be making a 180-degree turn on immigration policy."
At least if the House does a 180-degree turn on immigration, it can block bad legislation from the Senate.