It's long overdue for Congress to stop the racket of bringing pregnant women into this country to give birth, receive free medical care and then call their babies U.S. citizens entitled to all American rights and privileges plus generous handouts. Between 300,000 and 400,000 babies are born to illegal aliens in the United States every year, at least 10 percent of all births.
We have tolerated an entire industry called "birth tourism," offering "birth packages" costing thousands of dollars, to import pregnant women from all over the world, Korea to Turkey (12,000 U.S.-born Turkish babies have been arranged since 2003). An electronic billboard in Mexico, advertising the services of an American doctor, proclaims, "Do you want to have your baby in the U.S.?"
The advantages of birthright citizenship are immense. The babies get Medicaid (including birth costs), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and food stamps. Obviously, the baby shares his goodies with his family.
As soon as the child becomes an adult, he can legalize his parents, and bring into the U.S. a foreign-born spouse and any foreign-born siblings. They all can then bring in their own extended families, a policy called chain migration.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, has stepped up to this challenge and already has 26 co-sponsors for his bill, H.R. 140, to define citizenship. It states that the "subject to the jurisdiction" phrase in the Fourteenth Amendment means a baby born in the United States only if one parent is a U.S. citizen, or a lawfully admitted resident alien, or an alien on active duty in the U.S. armed services.
King is not trying to amend the Constitution. He is simply using the 14th Amendment's Section 5, which gives Congress (not the judiciary, not the executive branch) the power to enforce the citizenship clause.
In 1993, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., introduced similar legislation. Bills to limit birthright citizenship to children of U.S. citizens and of aliens who are legal residents have been introduced by other members of Congress every year since.
The amnesty crowd tries to tell us that the 14th Amendment makes automatic citizens out of "all persons" born in the United States, but they conveniently ignore the rest of the sentence. It's not enough to be "born" in the U.S. -- you can claim citizenship only if you are "subject to the jurisdiction thereof."
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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