State Legislators for Legal Immigration take aim at anchor babies


Legislators are trying to make citizenship more difficult for children of illegal immigrants. Image: Flickr / wiredwitch / CC-BY-SA

In a press conference today, the group State Legislators for Legal Immigration announced new model legislation. This legislation seeks to strip citizenship from children of illegal immigrants. These so-called “anchor babies” are the newest target of the immigration debate.

Who are anchor babies?

“Anchor babies” is a name given to people who are born in the United States to parents who are illegal immigrants. These children are legal United States citizens, though their parents are not. This is allowed by Section 1 of the 14th Amendment, which states:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

The Civil Rights Act of 1866 also grants U.S. Citizenship “to all persons born in the United States not subject to any foreign power.”

State Legislators for Legal Immigration

State Legislators for Legal Immigration is a coalition that was originally started by Pennsylvania State Representative Daryl D. Metcalf. Its mission statement says that the group works toward ” eliminating all economic attractions and incentives (including, but not limited to: public benefits, welfare, education and employment opportunities) for illegal aliens, as well as securing our borders against unlawful invasion.” This group has supported Arizona’s controversial immigration reform and has employed constitutional and legal scholars to provide support to states trying to reform immigration.

The anchor baby model legislation

The SLLI released “model legislation” that strips citizenship from individuals born in the United States if their parents are not citizens. The SLLI says the policy of citizenship-by-birth encourages illegal immigration and makes it easier to circumvent immigration procedures. No state legislature has yet to try to pass the model legislation, though lawmakers from 40 states have signed on to the SLLI. This legislation is sure to be very controversial, no matter which state chooses to try to pass it first.


SLLI website

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