A U.S. congressman says the new Republican majority in the House will have a series of hearings on the issue of “anchor babies,” and the resulting decision is predicted by a law professor to reveal how the 112th Congress will make a “180-degree turn on immigration.”
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.
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.”
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.
The hearing schedule won’t be set until the GOP takes the reins of the House on Jan. 3, said King.
But instead of the so-called DREAM Act that would create new paths to citizenship, legal status in the United States and other options for those who broke the law to enter the nation, the plan is for a bill that would ban anchor babies, he said. U.S. Sen. Harry Reid and outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi say as part of their Democrat agenda they still are committed to the DREAM act.
But the new proposal will be developed as the testimony reveals the facts about the situation, King said.
King said the preliminary information that he has seen reveals the
problem of anchor babies could be costing the U.S. “hundreds of millions of dollars per year” in medical costs alone for hospitals in border states like Arizona.
“There are a several estimates as to the number of anchor babies born to illegal alien mothers in the U.S. each year,” King said. “One estimate holds that the number is 750,000. That means two of 12 or one of six of all babies born in the U.S. are born to illegal alien mothers.”
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.
King said it would not be unconstitutional to ban the children from instant citizenship, as the intent of the 14th Amendment was to allow ex-slaves and their children to be American citizens, with all the privileges and immunities of U.S. citizens.
“It was never intended to apply to immigrants,” said King, noting that, over the years, this is exactly how the courts and bureaucrats have applied the provision.
Some liberal lawyers objected to King’s premise.
“As an immigration attorney, I am passionate about clarifying the vast amount of misinformation being disseminated regarding anchor babies,” attorney Renee J. Tello said. “The fact is that having a U.S. citizen child does not provide any immigration to undocumented parents.”
Others had more nuanced objections.
“This is only an issue if the parents are not working and paying taxes,” Cooper said. “The anchor baby argument covers the real issue – which a U.S. citizen child can remain, go to public school, get WIC [Women, Infants and Children welfare] support, etc.”
Another attorney, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Denver College of Law, Robert Hardaway, agreed with that assessment. But he concurs with King as to the history of the 14th Amendment.
An essay provided by Hardaway’s publicist indicated his research shows that in 1866, Sen. Lyman Trumbull and Sen. Jacob Howard specifically wanted to exclude the children of foreigners from acquiring citizenship upon birth in the U.S. when they debated the 14th Amendment.
To be sure, though, Cooper said, look for a dramatic change on immigration issues from the forthcoming Congress.