The Daily Demarche
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Anchors Aweigh
The last few days have seen some very intense discussion in the comments section here at The Demarche, and I want to thank you all for taking the time to write in, either in the comments or to e-mail us. Consul-At-Arms, a brother FSO blogger, and other commenters, have kindly provided a segue to continue the discussion. Regardless of what you think about illegal immigrants, their kids who are born in the states are another matter. Unless you are the child of a foreign diplomat, if you are born in the United States you are a citizen. Period. It matters not one bit if your parents broke the law in order to be in the U.S. at the time of your birth. Now I understand that is a right set forth by the Constitution- just as the right to keep my guns is guaranteed. Plenty of people want to change both those rights.

There is of course, one major difference. My guns don't get together and produce offspring that will someday be able to petition for their gun relatives to come to the U.S. The offspring of illegal aliens often do- in fact their mother's, in many cases, struggle to reach the Unites States prior to giving birth- the kids born in America are called "anchor babies", these are the kids that will eventually file immigrant visa petitions for their families. There are a great many children born into this "status" in America every year. The Federation for American Immigration Reform estimates that:

there are currently between 287,000 and 363,000 children born to illegal aliens each year. This figure is based on the crude birth rate of the total foreign-born population (33 births per 1000) and the size of the illegal alien population (between 8.7 and 11 million).

and they do not come cheaply:

...Flor was born premature, spent three months in the neonatal incubator and cost the San Joaquin Hospital more than $300,000. Meanwhile, oldest daughter Lourdes married an illegal alien gave birth to a daughter, too. Her name is Esmeralda. And Felipa had yet another child, Cristian.

The two Silverio anchor babies generate $1,000 per month in public welfare funding for the family. Flor gets $600 a month for asthma. Healthy Cristian gets $400. While the Silverios earned $18,000 last year picking fruit, they picked up another $12,000 for their two "anchor babies."

These kids often grow up immersed in the culture that their parents abandoned. Their allegiance lies first with their families (and rightly so) and then more often than not with the country that failed their parents. Their parents retain some sort of romantic allegiance and pass it on to the children. It is only the patriotic thing to do. Every American Embassy in the world has a "Voting Assistance Officer" charged with helping Americans abroad exercise their franchise- we expect our expats to retain their patriotism- why shouldn't the economic flotsam of the world do the same?

I do not begrudge anyone who wants to be an American, or to live in America, to have a chance at a better life. As an American I take it as a compliment. I would hope that my rich neighbor does not begrudge me ogling his Ferrari when it goes by, and that he takes is a compliment too (note: none of my neighbors has Ferraris, I am taking license here). I do imagine he would begrudge me climbing his fence, breaking into the garage and stealing it, though. If I want a Ferrari I have to obtain it by legal means, period. Is it hubris for me to say that for many people America is the Ferrari next door?

As the President and Congress prepare to take on the immigration issue (maybe) it is imperative that we the 14th Amendment be included in the discussions. Perhaps we do need all of the illegal aliens who support our economy as has been noted by guest bloggers here and by many others. I would certainly rather see them legalized than continue to see them living and working in the shadows. If this is an issue that you feel deeply about- and I think many of you do- please exercise your rights as voter and let your representatives know.

No more immigration stuff for a while, I promise. Sometimes I just follow the blog where it takes me.

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dé·marche 1) A course of action; a maneuver. 2) A diplomatic representation or protest 3) A statement or protest addressed by citizens to public authorities.

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