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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 8:30am | IP Logged | 1  

At the risk of plunging myself into a particularly large tub of hot water, let me say I find myself leaning in the direction of those who hold that this is a right that needs modification.

Traditionally, it has been a great honor to become an instant American citizen by being born here. Seems perfectly logical, too. Thousands upon thousands of immigrant families were proud to see the birth of the first of their children upon this soil.

Unfortunately, like so many "rights" in this Nation, this one has been abused. The concept of "anchor babies" has turned a joy into a con. And it seems that the only way to address this is to rewrite the rules. Citizenship comes automatically only if one or both of the child's parents are themselves legal citizens of the United States (by birth, or by naturalization).

Of course, children born to parents who have already begun the legal process of becoming citizens would be given dispensation, earning their citizenship at the same time their parents did.

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 8:51am | IP Logged | 2  

It's as good an approach as any in attempting to deal with the "immigration" debacle the selectively open-bordered USA is choosing (by craven political default) to live with (...for how long?!).

My parents came to this country legally, and by law became citizens. They "earned" me my birthright thus, as far as I'm concerned.
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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 8:57am | IP Logged | 3  

With you on the need for modification.  Naturalization (while a laudable concept) should come with full rights and privileges.  I find it odd that David Duke or Pauly Shore are "eligible" to be President, but  Zbigniew Brzezinski or Madeline Albright are not.
That said, sure the letter of the law with "Anchor Babies" to gain permanent residency is definitely an abuse in the face of people who had to wait the whole five years.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 9:03am | IP Logged | 4  

I've been a citizen of three different countries.

I was born in England, so I got that one the easy way.

When I was 14, my parents became Canadian citizens, and I floated in with them.

Then, in 1988, after having lived in this country the prerequisite number of years, I became an American citizen. (In full. I do not hold dual citizenship. I do not hyphenate myself.)

All three were the proper, legal means of gaining citizenship, and while I had the obvious advantage of being White and Middle Class, I really don't think it's too much to ask people entering this country to do so legally.

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Bill Guerra
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 9:11am | IP Logged | 5  

As someone whose family ties in America go back many generations now (traced back to pre Civil War), I've never given much thought about achieving citizenship while growing up. As an adult, my best friends step-father is of British birth and he went through the process of becoming a naturalized American citizen. He would sometimes grumble about the "hoop jumping", but he did it all legal to assure he was legit. The day everything was finalized was a happy day for him!

I don't see what the problem is. Why be here illegally and worry about the possibility of being found out and deported?
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Marc Foxx
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 9:29am | IP Logged | 6  

My son is a naturalized U.S. citizen...for years, I would joke that some teacher, when explaining civics or citizenship, would trot out the "Any child can grow up to be
President..." lecture, but add "Not so fast, Dylan..."

Now, I know that my son (for various reasons) is unlikely to grow up to be President, but should an accident of birth and the place where he spent 5 months of his life
truly limit his destiny?
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Ian Carroll
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 9:52am | IP Logged | 7  

JB: The concept of "anchor babies" has turned a joy into a con. And it seems that the only way to address this is to rewrite the rules.

"Anchor babies" has indeed become a popular "concept" in certain quarters of the immigration debate. But if amending the Constitution is required to address the supposed problem, the concept's legitimacy has to be carefully scrutinized. 

This data is a few years old, but it suggests "anchor baby" is about as legitimate a concern as abuse of the system by "welfare queens."
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 10:07am | IP Logged | 8  

My son is a naturalized U.S. citizen...for years, I would joke that some teacher, when explaining civics or citizenship, would trot out the "Any child can grow up to be President..." lecture, but add "Not so fast, Dylan..."

Now, I know that my son (for various reasons) is unlikely to grow up to be President, but should an accident of birth and the place where he spent 5 months of his life truly limit his destiny?

It has long struck me as odd that a "nation of immigrants" will not let an immigrant hold the highest office.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 10:11am | IP Logged | 9  

JB: The concept of "anchor babies" has turned a joy into a con. And it seems that the only way to address this is to rewrite the rules.

"Anchor babies" has indeed become a popular "concept" in certain quarters of the immigration debate. But if amending the Constitution is required to address the supposed problem, the concept's legitimacy has to be carefully scrutinized.

This data is a few years old, but it suggests "anchor baby" is about as legitimate a concern as abuse of the system by "welfare queens."

It's not really a good idea to address a problem by saying "Well, it's only a SMALL problem."

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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 10:18am | IP Logged | 10  

That data very carefully parses the problem into people who deliberately have children to stay here.  Obviously the vast bulk of illegal immigration is done out of a desperate desire for jobs.  If Mexico (or other places) were fully developed first-world countries (as should be the goal) then no one would bother sneaking anywhere.

The problem becomes that anyone who comes here illegally, whether they meant to or not gets residency rights because of their baby that someone who went through the system (as my Dad did) did not.

Babies happen.  Should that grant automatic residency to those that have them because their baby is by law a citizen?  I can't see it being popular to say, "well, the kid can stay but you have to go."

The problem with rules is this:  if they don't apply to everyone equally, why bother having them at all?  Likewise, if it is impossible to apply them equally (for whatever reason), they require modification.

If the US were better at Imperialism, they would adopt a stance more like the UK had, where they could use the concept of dual citizenship to gain control over other countries.  Recall Horatio Nelson himself gained a Dukedom in Italy.

We may find such practices to be a little too "Game of Thrones" for the modern day, but still.  Citizenship can be used as a weapon the other way, and the US chooses to not do that.

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Matthew Wilkie
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 10:37am | IP Logged | 11  

I really don't think it's too much to ask people entering this country to do so legally.

* * *

You have made this comment specifically about the US, JB, but would you take this view for every where? In Europe currently we have boatloads of immigrants desperately landing on the shores of Italy and Greece having taken flight from wars, famine or political persecution. It would be very difficult for them enter these countries legally.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 August 2015 at 10:42am | IP Logged | 12  

This thread concerns only the present situation in the United States. Please don't muddy it up with matters unconnected to this discussion.
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