Arizona's Next Immigration Target: Children of Illegals
By ADAM KLAWONN / PHOENIX Adam Klawonn / Phoenix – Fri Jun 11, 7:50 pm ET
"Anchor babies" isn't a very endearing term, but in Arizona those are the words being used to tag children born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants. While not new, the term is increasingly part of the local vernacular because the primary authors of the nation's toughest and most controversial immigration law are targeting these tots - the legal weights that anchor many undocumented aliens in the U.S. - for their next move.
Buoyed by recent public opinion polls suggesting they're on the right track with illegal immigration, Arizona Republicans will likely introduce legislation this fall that would deny birth certificates to children born in Arizona - and thus American citizens according to the U.S. Constitution - to parents who are not legal U.S. citizens. The law largely is the brainchild of state Sen. Russell Pearce, a Republican whose suburban district, Mesa, is considered the conservative bastion of the Phoenix political scene. He is a leading architect of the Arizona law that sparked outrage throughout the country: Senate Bill 1070, which allows law enforcement officers to ask about someone's immigration status during a traffic stop, detainment or arrest if reasonable suspicion exists - things like poor English skills, acting nervous or avoiding eye contact during a traffic stop. (See the battle for Arizona: will a border crackdown work?)
But the likely new bill is for the kids. While SB 1070 essentially requires of-age migrants to have the proper citizenship paperwork, the potential "anchor baby" bill blocks the next generation from ever being able to obtain it. The idea is to make the citizenship process so difficult that illegal immigrants pull up the "anchor" and leave. (See pictures of the Great Wall of America.)
The question is whether that would violate the U.S. Constitution. The 14th Amendment states that "all persons, born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." It was intended to provide citizenship for freed slaves and served as a final answer to the Dred Scott case, cementing the federal government's control over citizenship.