Some very good people argue passionately against changing the law. Linda Chavez, a Republican and someone for whom I have immense respect did so in a recent article published here in Townhall. She made a strong case; it is just that she is wrong. We are not advocating that the amendment be changed. But, historically, Americans have never given benefits to people who do things illegally, and the proposal is merely to clarify the language and intent of the amendment for the benefit of the confused.
There is another reason that people have adopted the impression that the law covers the children of illegal aliens – it is because the issue was rarely asserted. If a person came here illegally a century ago and had a baby, they would give birth with a midwife and then raise the child by their own means. The world has changed. People come here and have babies in hospitals. Even a simple birth can run $10,000. If the baby is a preemie, the bill can be as high as $500,000. Once they leave the hospital, they can be supported by their parents or they can become beneficiaries of the state. In one year alone, Los Angeles County spent over $50 million on welfare benefits for the children of illegal aliens. That does not include other governmental costs, such as expenses borne by the state and federal bureaucracies. That is just one county. We are a uniquely humane and generous country, but very few people who understand the real costs would endorse these expenditures. It has little to do with the fact that they are foreigners or the color of their skin. It has everything to do with them being here illegally, and, while we are a humane country, we are also a country of laws. Illegal aliens, by definition, are not following the process and are not abiding by our laws.
Canada and the United States are the only advanced economies that still grant citizenship to babies born of illegal immigrants. 164 countries have eliminated this benefit. That is not to say we shouldn’t declare these babies to be citizens because other countries don’t. We should eliminate anchor babies because it is the correct public policy for our citizens, and an expression of fairness to all of the people who aspire to become American citizens.