Children of Undocumented Immigrants

Friday, August 13, 2010

Julia Preston, national immigration correspondent for the New York Times, discusses the debate heating up about what rights children of undocumented immigrants should have.


Julia Preston

Comments [52]

Unheard from NYC

This issue is just another class issue. An effective attempt to turn working class people against other working class people. The comments referring to immigrants coming here only to reap the benefits of our welfare system are so completely bigoted it confounds me. Where are the christian ideals that this country is supposedly founded on in these people. The needy are not the perpetrators of these injustices. They are victims. The influx of immigrants is entirely due to corporate interests. The same congressman that enabled the mass border crossings of the past decades are the ones railing against immigration now. Like an earlier commenter said the hypocrisy of the Republicans is beyond ridiculous.

Aug. 13 2010 11:47 AM
Michael from Brooklyn

I've heard that policies such as NAFTA have meant Mexican farmers have had to compete against subsidized U.S. farmers and that many of the corn growers in Mexico have lost their farms and that the Mexican economy has plunged into deeper troubles. This might be what has been escalating the rate of illegal immigration.

Wouldn't it be a better policy to help Mexico in its economic woes instead of putting more and more Mexicans into destitution so that they seem that they end up trying to come here because they have few other options?

Wouldn't this beat a higher fence and repealing the 14th amendment?

Aug. 13 2010 11:43 AM
Madeline from Brooklyn

I'm also confused, because the big brouhaha is supposedly about the fact that these "anchor babies" cost taxpayers money for education and health care. But don't they get the same health care and education also if they are here without citizenship?

Aug. 13 2010 11:39 AM
Phil Moore from Brooklyn, NYC

There was a gentleman who called in a noted a few things about German and French nationality law; but there were inaccuracies in his statement. I am a dual French/American citizen and I know that the Germans don't utilize jus soli (right of the ground) and only jus sanguinis (right of blood). Most of the descendants of Turkish people in Germany (even second and third generations) don't have German citizenship. In France, there is a mixed system whereby if you are born in France to legal immigrants, you gain French citizenship; however if they are illegal, you do not automatically acquire it. In that case you have a fast track though whereby you can acquire it on your 18th birthday by request. The reason for that change was the island of Mayotte (in the Comoros archipelago) whereby people would take rafts from the Comoros (the country) to Mayotte (a French overseas territory) and have children there so that their kids would have French citizenship. The UK has similar nationality laws to France.

Aug. 13 2010 11:38 AM
Deirdre from Carnegie Hill

The fact that the people under discussion are (offensively) referred to as "Illegals" assumes that they have broken a law,and are THEREFORE assumed to be "under the jurisdiction thereof."

This is NOT the case w/ diplomatic personnel.

Lets not get all "tutti fruitti" and mix apples and oranges.

Aug. 13 2010 11:37 AM
The Truth from Becky

HJS - I don't think it is as severe as a "witch hunt" the guilty knew they were breaking the laws of this Country when they did it. The whole world operates under the same system but I do feel badly for all of the children affected.

Aug. 13 2010 11:29 AM
Wilson from Jersey City

The 14th Amendment isn't going to be changed (twenty years ago they couldn't even pass a flag-burning amendment) - the issue is a red herring to obscure discussion of Schumer's $600 million enforcement-only bill.

Aug. 13 2010 11:29 AM
BEATA from forest hills

i dont agree with what the guest speaker just said> i think there will be less illegal immigrants having their children here because none of them will get free insurance, free schooling, welfare (later on in life), food stamps etc.

Aug. 13 2010 11:28 AM
Madeline from Brooklyn

It seems ironic that Republicans launch this campaign to change the constitution, on the same day when Elena Kegen was confirmed, and the news was full of their forboding comments that she wouldn't respect the constitution...

Aug. 13 2010 11:28 AM
The Truth from Becky

Unfortunately the bottom line is that we cannot as American citizens do this in any other Country. We can't go there and hunker down, have a baby and say I'm staying!

How do we enforce? There are millions out of work right now...expand the INS and get it done! The question is, do we want to do that? What is the benefit?

Aug. 13 2010 11:27 AM
Phil Henshaw from way uptown

It would certainly change who we have thought of ourselves being to change the reading of the 14th, to exclude children of illegals as citizens. There's more to it than maintaining our former image of ourselves, though. The whole world, all the advanced democracies, are presently being demographically overtaken by cultures that, in practical terms, wouldn't know how to run this unusually complex world, and don't have the traditions of building solid foundations for their own lives. That's a rather dangerous trend and one we need to grapple with the moral implications of.

Aug. 13 2010 11:27 AM

You should have as your guest Aristide Zolberg. I am in the middle of his book:

A Nation by Design: Immigration Policy in the Fashioning of America

Aug. 13 2010 11:26 AM

Artista from Greenpoint: Preach!

The Germany / France comments wreak of fascism.

Aug. 13 2010 11:26 AM
Liam from East Elmhurst

I only quote the guest as a source. I learned something today. She said it was an 1868 law to protect former slaves.

Aug. 13 2010 11:26 AM
Unheard from NYC

Let's just call a horse a horse, the issue isn't UNDOCUMENTED immigrants it's Undocumented Mexican imigrants.

Aug. 13 2010 11:25 AM
yourgo from astoria

The Republican party likes to say it is the defender of the constitution. now they want to change the constitution and the bill of rights. The hypocrisy of the Republican party is mind boggling.
Immigrants built this country and they can help rebuild it after Republicans destroyed it.

Aug. 13 2010 11:25 AM
RLewis from bowery

Seems like people are just using part of the 14th. No one discusses the last clause of it about where the person "resides".

Doesn't that mean that the person must be a Resident already?

So if the illegal lives here, there kid becomes a US citizen, but if they just come for a few days and live somewhere else, no citizenship.

Aug. 13 2010 11:25 AM
Daniel from Munich

Re: Germany + France:
I know Germans who were born in Germany and grew up in Germany, but had to take a test to become a citizen (after 10 years of living in the country) because their parents weren't citizens. They are very resentful of Germans who are born into citizenship and resentful that their government made them prove their German-ness through a naturalization test.

Aug. 13 2010 11:25 AM
bernie from bklyn

jeez, these callers are so naive and out of touch with what's going on in the streets....yes, people DO come here to have anchor babies. it does happen all the time.
and the idea of creating a domestic terorist class from this is just ridiculous. do you think just because you give citizenship to these babies that they will automatically be loyal to this country? that means nothing...they CAN get benefits from the gov't...that's why they do it. sorry, but that's the truth.

Aug. 13 2010 11:25 AM

Bernie: Any person born in Mexico acquires Mexican citizenship at birth regardless of nationality of parents.

Aug. 13 2010 11:24 AM
The Truth from Becky

Unfortunately being born here does not make you a citizen of this Country no more than it does if I were born in China, it does not make me a citizen of that Country it just means that my mother/father made a bad choice in traveling that close to the due date.

Aug. 13 2010 11:24 AM
artista from greenpoint

I second most of the outraged comments here. My favorite comment is from cwebba, esp. for naming the Takeaway as a bottom feeder.
This xenophobic, politically motivated, reactionary subject has been framed with ugly dehumanizing terms, like 'anchor baby" and 'birth tourism', 'drop and leave." UGH.
Julia Preston has a long, distinguished history but perhaps should be more careful to distance herself from these terms.
American exceptionalism applies to all aggressive and militarist things like for the right wing but nothing positive, like welcoming immigrants--to populate a huge continent. Sad day when such ugliness as repealing the 14th and demonizing immigrants' children is treated seriously.
The example of Germany & france, with BLOOD CITIZENSHIP is frightening and problematic.

Aug. 13 2010 11:24 AM

CNN on line "Quick vote" 8-12-10 -unscientific poll, 65% for denying citizenship to illegals

Aug. 13 2010 11:24 AM
The Truth from Becky

Wonder why this is such a "hot button" issue right now? Immigrants have entered this Country illegally for years. Why now is it such an issue? *FYI, the question is Rhetorical* one of those things that make you go hmmmm...

Aug. 13 2010 11:22 AM

I wonder if the US will split into at least 2 countries in my lifetime? How are we going to progress when we have so many nutters on the political right? Do we just give them a giant plot of land in the middle of the country and let them impose their crazy as they please?

I'm convinced that while there's a huge racist element in the immigration debate, the anti-immigrant crowd is delighted for another reason when a European wants to relocate; it validates their belief that the US is unconditionally the greatest. If a Western European is willing to give up all the comforts provided by their governments and adapt to our system, then we really don't need socialized medicine, mandated minimum vacations, child care, required parental leave, etc. (do you wonder why it's generally more difficult to make the opposite move to these areas?).

Aug. 13 2010 11:21 AM
Liam from East Elmhurst

Something has to be done.
Do something fair for a greater portion of those already here who have proven service for the USA.
The rest can hit the road and wait.
I think that's fair.

Aug. 13 2010 11:21 AM
Lonnie from Brooklyn!!!!!

Anchor Babies DOES work.

It May not be LEGAL-- but BUREAUCRATICALLY, the system refrains from FORCIBLY separating an Illegal immigrant Mother from her Child-- particularly if the Mother refuses to yield the child up to a US citizen relative. Technically, the mother AND the US Citizen child should be deported-- but because the Mother does not yield her Maternal Right-- there's the Anchor Part.

It works thru the bureaucratic inertia of the social services system

Aug. 13 2010 11:21 AM

Will this type of action be evenly applied? Or just to people who don't look like Senator McConnell?

Aug. 13 2010 11:20 AM
bernie from bklyn

does anyone know if Mexico provides the same right to persons born there?

Aug. 13 2010 11:20 AM

My mother is British, my father American, I was born here. I am American, I can petition to become British.

My brother was born in Germany; he could have applied for citizenship prior to turning 18.

Aug. 13 2010 11:19 AM
The Truth from Becky

LIAM - I was wondering who it was going to be and so it is YOU, so let's say we NOT use Black Americans as an example, there are many other immigrant groups who came to this Country willingly that you can use in your example!

Aug. 13 2010 11:19 AM
Leah from Brooklyn

Just an aside:
Reproductive tourism is a phenomenon that is not limited to manipulating birthplace to secure citizenship. In some countries, such as China and India, wealthy couples come to the United States to acquire gender-determination sonograms; if the fetus is female, some couples opt to perform gender-specific abortion (especially in China, where girls are less valuable and couples don't want to "waste" their one opportunity to parent on a female child). Because the governments of these countries have tried to limit the prevalence of gender-selective abortion, ultrasound technicians in these countries are prohibited from informing parents of the baby's gender; no such prohibition exists in this country.

Aug. 13 2010 11:18 AM
John from Fanwood

Rachael Madow had the sheriff of the county on the boarder of Arizona and Mexico this week who gave a great civics lesson. It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to amend the Constitution. No politician is talking about this. I believe this is a smoke screen, similar to the flag burning amendment.

Aug. 13 2010 11:18 AM
Jake from LI

While we're tinkering with the 14th amendment, let's add language that explicitly excludes corporations from being treated as natural humans.

Aug. 13 2010 11:18 AM

Jerry: "most of U.S. citizens approve of this change to the constitution..."

Source please. Because this is patently untrue.

Aug. 13 2010 11:17 AM

The 14th Amendment grants citizenship to newborns of legal citizens only. Read it. How far our wealthy will go to keep their slaves coming!

Aug. 13 2010 11:16 AM
Liam from East Elmhurst

OK, let's say we change the law. The law was written for Black Americans.
Then, all the other Americans (?) suddenly have their status changed. Weren't they brought here for a combined Democrat and Republican reasons-for the Democrats to skew votes and for the Republicans for cheap labor to destroy organized labor?
Might start a new American debate.
Let's see what happens.

Aug. 13 2010 11:16 AM
Alva French from Albany, NY

In Korea, wealthy Koreans come to the US to benefit from birthright citizenship so that their sons can avoid the compulsory military service upon adulthood.

Aug. 13 2010 11:16 AM

Jerry: "most of U.S. citizens approve of this change to the constitution" - can you provide a source for this? Other than Fox News?

Aug. 13 2010 11:15 AM

Did the 14th Amendment apply to the American Indian? There must have been Indians in territories and state.

Aug. 13 2010 11:14 AM
Randall from Astoria

If the 14th amendment is anachronistic, then can one argue that the 2nd amendment is also?

Aug. 13 2010 11:14 AM

This has Philip J. Berg written all over it.

We seriously need to stop paying attention to anything Fox News jumps on.

Aug. 13 2010 11:14 AM

most of U.S. citizens approve of this change to the constitution, maybe we have some rights too

Aug. 13 2010 11:13 AM
Cory from Planet Earth

The purpose of the 14th was to repeal Dred Scott, which held that blacks could not be citizens.

Aug. 13 2010 11:11 AM

Get this guy off the air.

Aug. 13 2010 11:11 AM
cwebba from NYC

This is a disappointing segment. Bottom-feeding subject matter worthy of "The Takaway". I hope you keep this really short. Are we done yet?

Aug. 13 2010 11:11 AM

I'm not in favor of this, and the reasons behind the Fox News crowd's desire for the change is certainly suspect.... but I have to say that the idea that birth = citizenship is rather unique to the US. Plenty of Western, developed, democratic countries require a parent to be citizen for the child to be citizen. Not saying its right or wrong. We are a country of immigrants so that is also unique. But it's not the norm.

Aug. 13 2010 11:11 AM
Kenneth Klein from Soho

A child should automatically be a citizen of the same country as its mother, rather than its country of birth.

Aug. 13 2010 11:10 AM
Cory from Planet Earth

Why repeal just the 14th Amendment? Go all the way and repeal the 13th and 15th as well. If the Fox News/Tea Party candidates succeed, the average person will be better off in de jure slavery than what is in store in a pre-Progressive (hat tip to Glen Beck) style country.

Aug. 13 2010 10:30 AM

this is very troubling, how many years back will this witch hunt go back.
my great grandfather was not a citizen when my grandfather was born in the USA. will my grandfather lose his birthright citizenship? will i?

Aug. 13 2010 10:10 AM
Julie Leininger Pycior from Hastings-on-Hudson

The question you pose alas is the wrong one. The question is: "Should some of the people born in the USA nonetheless be excluded from citizenship?"

You are to be commended, though, for trying to be fair -- as usual -- and for having on Julia Preston. Her article on this issue is top-notch.

Aug. 13 2010 09:19 AM
fpc imfedup

in your community, sure. in my communty, no. the point has come.

Aug. 13 2010 08:45 AM

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