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Old 08-08-2010, 08:36 PM
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Jeanfromfillmore Jeanfromfillmore is offline
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Default 60,000 babies born each year to illegal immigrants in Texas gain ‘birthright citizens

At least 60,000 babies born each year to illegal immigrants in Texas gain ‘birthright citizenship’
As the debate over birthright citizenship rages across the United States, a statistic has surfaced that is sure to add fuel to the birthright fire in Texas: 60,000 to 65,000 babies automatically gain U.S. citizenship each year when they're born to the estimated 1.5 million illegal immigrants who live in the Lone Star State.

That figure, reported by the Dallas Morning News, comes from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. The yearly birth number is equivalent to the population of Austin suburb Cedar Park—about 62,000, according to a 2009 estimate.

Last year, births to illegal immigrants represented nearly 16 percent of the total births statewide, according to the newspaper.

Between 2001 and 2009, births to illegal immigrant women totaled 542,152 in Texas, the Dallas Morning News reported. That’s about the same number of people who live in the city of Atlanta.

Critics of birthright citizenship, which is guaranteed under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, complain that the so-called “anchor baby” phenomenon is a magnet for illegal immigration. The amendment, passed after the Civil War, overruled the famous Dred Scott court decision, which said that blacks could not be U.S. citizens.
The Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment, adopted in 1868, 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."

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he supports a legislative review of birthright citizenship.

“We need to consult constitutional scholars and study what the implications are,” Cornyn told the Dallas Morning News. “We need to tread carefully in this area, because we would be changing, frankly, settled law.”

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, is among the most vocal opponents of birthright citizenship. He has recommended a constitutional amendment to fix what he’s called “a mistake" that spurs "drop and leave" pregnancies by illegal immigrants.

In an recent interview on Fox News, Graham referred to birthright citizenship as a “problem where thousands of people are coming across the Arizona-Texas border for the express purpose of having a child in an American hospital so that child will become an American citizen, and they broke the law to get there.”

U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith of San Antonio, a Republican whose district includes part of the Austin area, said Graham “is going in the right direction” on the 14th Amendment. But Smith, the ranking GOP member of the House Judiciary Committee, said birthright citizenship could be reversed through congressional action rather than a more complicated constitutional amendment.

Smith said on that the granting of automatic citizenship arises from a misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment.

“Citizenship is the highest honor a country can give. It is not something that should be handed out on first-come, first-serve basis; but rather reserved for those who respect our laws and value our freedoms,” Smith said.

One of Smith’s House colleagues from Texas agrees.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Lake Jackson, whose congressional district stretches from north of Galveston to north of Corpus Christi, said in 2008 during his run for president that “we should not be awarding automatic citizenship to children born here minutes after their mothers illegally cross the border. It just doesn’t make sense. The practice of birthright citizenship is an aberration of the original intent of the 14th Amendment, the purpose of which was never to allow lawbreakers to bleed taxpayers of welfare benefits.”

On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Austin said in 2005 when asked about a constitutional repeal of birthright citizenship that he doesn't like the idea of tampering with the Constitution.
A fellow Democrat, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, said the 14th Amendment should be left alone.

The amendment, he told The Hill newspaper, “allows for citizenship that’s not based on political considerations. Once you introduce political considerations, it degrades citizenship. If you’re born here, you’re a citizen. Period. No tests, no profiling, nothing else.”

Another Democrat, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, told The Hill that the anti-birthright movement is “outrageous.”

“To target children on this makes no sense. It’s the Constitution. It’s what we’ve done our entire lives,” Brown said. “It’s all about politics and Republicans trying to gin up their base. It’s one of those distractions that just puzzles me.”
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