Several politicians and commentators have recently advocated for the repeal of the 14th Amendment, to deny citizenship rights to US-born children of illegal aliens. Some call them “anchor babies,” but that is inaccurate, as such babies cannot benefit their parents until they are 21, too long of a time to establish a motive to enter the US illegally.
But, do advocates of such change know whether they are themselves the descendents of illegal aliens? Many are, although they might not know it.
For decades, aliens illegally here, but who found an employer willing to sponsor them, or who established families here could legalize their status. The law was only hardened in 1996. Accordingly, there are many millions of proud Americans today who might not know that they are here only because the law was then more humane.
Numerous Americans might not know that had their ancestors been subject to current laws, they might not have been allowed in. For example, committing a mistake at any time in a life time, such as retail fraud of a few bucks, or slapping one’s child might make the alien inadmissible under today’s law. How many of our early immigrant families would be regarded as illegal under our existing laws?
Many other Americans who trace their ancestors centuries back might not be aware that they are descendants of unwelcomed entrants, or worse, mercenaries, such as the Hessian soldiers who fought with the British, but who stayed here after the end of the Revolutionary War.
We also should not forget the passengers of the Mayflower, and millions after them, who came to a land already inhabited by others, without documentation or prior permission!
In the end, we are a nation of immigrants who came to this land to make a better life for themselves. Many of us descend from aliens not entitled to be here under today’s law. Under current rules, we are indeed a nation of illegal aliens. But, that apparently did not stop us from building a great country.
Proponents of the repeal of the birth rights complain that we are one of the few countries that are so generous. That is right. But, that is why we are so exceptional. It amuses me that those complainants usually resent any of what the rest of world has to offer, unless it is based on hate and meanness.
But, aside from history, one needs to contemplate what would happen to a baby born in the US who knows no other country, but who is not a citizen? We would be adding a class of sub-human beings, with substandard rights, for no fault of their own. Would we deny them education? Where else can they live if born here? Who would accept them? Would we be throwing them away once they are 18? America is a better country than that.