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17 Grades for 17 Candidates: Anchor Babies

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Only five GOP presidential candidates understand our Constitution and are serious about reforming our immigration system in a fair and equitable manner: Donald Trump; Sen. Ted Cruz; Sen. Rand Paul; Gov. Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum.


Last month it was the Confederate flag. This month, all the cool kids who never had a problem with the term “anchor baby” are feigning shock and disgust. Why? It’s because they worship at the shrine Hillarathena, goddess of political correctness.

Today, I’ll walk you through all 17 GOP presidential candidates and prove why only Trump, Cruz, Paul, Jindal and Santorum deserve an A-rating for their constitutional approach to immigration. As a special bonus, I’ll show you why Cruz and Jindal are not themselves anchor babies.

14th Amendment 101:

Before we get to the candidates, here’s a mini constitutional crash course. The 14th Amendment was passed for the sole purpose of clarifying that freed slaves were indeed American citizens. It was NOT passed to grant citizenship to an illegal immigrant’s child. We know this because, nearly 60 years after the 14th Amendment was ratified, American Indians were still not considered to be American citizens. And if anyone had a right to call himself or herself a citizen solely based on their birth on American soil, it would be the original inhabitants of the soil.

You also can’t claim that Supreme Court precedent supports birthright citizenship because the 1898 Supreme Court Case of U.S. v Wong Kim Ark does not deal with the children of illegal immigrants—it deals with the children of legal immigrants.


The specific mention of citizenship in the Constitution is in Article One, granting Congress the right to elucidate citizenship. No amendment—14th or otherwise—condones anchor babies (children born to illegal immigrants who receive citizenship and “anchor” their parents and family, regardless of whether they are already in the United States, helping their entire family reside in the U.S. without fear of deportation.)

Grading the 17 GOP Candidates on Anchor Babies

Below, I rate presidential candidates on the constitutionality of their plan for birthright citizenship. Only five of 17 get A grades.

A Donald Trump

Besides his fabulous hair, entrepreneur Donald Trump receives an “A” for seriousness; lack of political correctness and adherence to the Constitution. “No one is above the law,” Trump writes in his 17-point action plan (please read it before you critique it).

Equality is a major theme in his proposal. Trump pushes you to ask yourself: why should an adult non-citizen criminal inmate be freed from jail if he or she “simply claims eligibility” for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)? Also, if we truly care about women, why should American women be treated as inferiors to non-American women?

Trump is open to humane deportation: "We're going to keep the families together, but they have to go," he said of his plans to repeal Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders and deport those here illegally.


Trump developed his plan with help from immigration expert Sen. Jeff Sessions—a man brave enough to stand up to President Obama for his recent efforts to put the United States under the jurisdiction of an international legislative body.

A Sen. Ted Cruz

“Absolutely,” he told talk show host Michael Medved: "We should end granting automatic birthright citizenship to the children of those who are here illegally.” Also, he’s not an anchor baby because his mother was already a U.S. citizen when she had him in Canada.

A Sen. Rand Paul

He’s been at the forefront of this issue since 2011, when he partnered with Sen. David Vitter to advance a resolution that: “a person born in the United States to illegal aliens does not automatically gain citizenship.”

A Gov. Bobby Jindal

“We need to end birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants,” Jindal tweeted last week. He also boldly said that he’s “happy to use” the term “anchor babies” and he hit back further at the Princess of Political Correctness:

"What I find offensive is Hillary Clinton — the left. When you look at those Planned Parenthood videos, they refuse to call them 'babies,' they call them 'fetal tissue,' they call them 'specimens’… What's really offensive is the left refuses to say 'babies.' Instead they say 'fetal tissue,' 'specimens,' they are a bunch of science deniers.”


Jindal is not an anchor baby because his mother was recruited to the U.S. by LSU on a nuclear physics scholarship. His mother was the kind of high-talent immigrant that our founders were hoping to attract to the United States. She even initially told LSU that she could not accept the scholarship because she was pregnant, showing that her intent was not to have a baby in the United States. LSU wanted her so badly that they accommodated her, helping her handle the pregnancy and her rigorous course load.

A Rick Santorum

Santorum wrote an op-ed for Breitbart on May 6 stating: “Other enticements to illegal immigration, such as birthright citizenship, should be ended,” and “Only children born on American soil where at least one parent is a citizen or resident aliens is automatically a U.S. citizen.”

B+ Dr. Ben Carson

He’s on the right track, but indecisive. He says: “it doesn't make any sense to me that people could come in here, have a baby and that baby becomes an American citizen.” We have yet to hear whether he’s definitively willing to end this practice.

B- Gov. Scott Walker

Walker will soon be known as “Walker the Waffler” if he doesn’t take a firm stand on immigration. He told MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt last week that “yeah” he would be open to ending birthright citizenship. In his next breath, he hedged: I didn’t say that [we should deport children].”


Trump is open to deporting families, but keeping them together, as noted earlier. However, Walker recently went on Fox & Friends and claimed that his immigration proposal is much like Trump’s. Funny how nobody heard about this until now. If Walker’s stance on immigration were truly as clear as Trump’s, we would have heard about it before now.

B- Sen. Marco Rubio

Sen. Rubio demonstrated at last week's Iowa State Fair that he neither has a clear understanding of the U.S. Constitution nor a clear plan for immigration reform. He said: "I don't agree with that [Trump's proposal]. I'm open to doing things that prevent people who deliberately come to the U.S. for purposes of taking advantage of the 14th Amendment, but I'm not in favor of repealing it." Rubio is a bit confused. We don't need to change a word of the 14th Amendment to reform our immigration system.

C Gov. Chris Christie

Sounding much like his cuddle buddy President Obama who once said he was “evolving” on gay “marriage,” Christie says he is open to a “re-examination” of birthright citizenship, but he won’t give us a hard answer as to what that entails.

C Sen. Lindsey Graham

Graham says: “I think it's a bad practice to give citizenship based on birth,” but in the next breath he said that changing the law is “not going to happen until we fix a broken immigration system.” Graham doesn’t seem to get that ending birthright citizenship is the first step to fixing our broken immigration system.


C- Carly Fiorina

Fiorina’s excuse for refusing to address birthright citizenship is even worse than Graham’s: pure laziness. At the Iowa State Fair, she said: “It would take passing a constitutional amendment.” (Actually it would not since it’s not in a constitutional amendment. Congress simply needs to address this loophole in our federal immigration law.) She added that birthright citizenship is not where she’s willing to expend “energies.”

C- Gov. Rick Perry

His opposition to ending birthright citizenship stems from essentially the same reasoning as Graham and Fiorina, so I won’t bore you with redundancy.

D Mike Huckabee
“No,” was the Huckster’s one-word answer to whether he would repeal the 14th Amendment to end birthright citizenship during a 2010 interview with NPR. The 14th Amendment does not address “anchor babies,” so repealing it would not do any good. But Huckabee is not a constitutional scholar and he appeared to hear the question as whether he would end birthright citizenship. He said “no.”

F Jeb Bush

He claims being an “anchor baby” is a “constitutional right” and he doesn’t want to “take away constitutional rights.” Earth to Bush: illegal aliens have no constitutional rights per se (although they do, obviously, have human rights).

F Jim Gilmore

Like Jeb Bush, he thinks illegal immigrants have a constitutional right per the 14th amendment to anchor baby benefits. Both men need to re-read the Constitution and take a crash course on U.S. history.


F Gov. John Kasich

Flip-flopping from his earlier position against birthright citizenship, Kasich now tells CNN: “I think we need to get over that. I'm not for it anymore. Let these people who are born here be citizens and that's the end of it. I don't want to dwell there anymore.”

F George Pataki

“I don't support amending the Constitution to kick out kids who were born here,” he told MSNBC last week.

Now know where your candidates stand on anchor babies as of today; beware of candidates who switch to meld with public opinion.

Share this immigration report card with your friends and family members who would like a helpful cheat sheet to understand the facts behind the “anchor baby” debate.

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