Are “Anchor Babies” Constitutional?

The concept of “anchor babies” refers to those whose parents are illegal immigrants into the United States and have a baby on this soil. That baby then inherits full citizenship and even the right later, as an adult, to sponsor his/her own illegal parents in their quest for citizenship. Is this practice Constitutional?

For the casual reader the amendment seems to validate such: “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 debate for or against the practice of allowing citizenship for babies of illegals born in the U.S. rages on with virtually no one going to the source of the alleged authority—the crafters of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.

Senator Jacob Merritt Howard, architect of the 14th Amendment, actually structured the Amendment (one of two defining the legal status of freed slaves after the Civil War, the other being the 13th which gave them freedom) to prevent that very interpretation. He said: “This amendment which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States.

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