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Greg Robinson
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First, as Mr. Norred mentions, much of the complaint about "anchor babies" is not so much about people who have come into the country illegally as people who allegedly visit the United States deliberately to give birth. Secondly, the distinction with the case of Wong Kim Ark seems less clearcut, in historical if not in legal terms. Because of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and its statutory descendants, only a few Chinese were permitted to enter the country legally, and as a result there was mass illegal immigration by Chinese in the form of "paper sons" and claimants to U.S. citizenship.
The article that served as the origin for this speculation was a 2009 article that stated that LGBT leaders had decided to put an initiative on the ballot in 1012 rather than 2010. This was before the bringing of Perry, the case that has led to Prop 8 being overturned. Absent a contrary ruling from the 9th Circuit, there is no urgency to put on the ballot a costly and divisive initiative to win rights that (as of now) have already been restored.
Actually, it was a bit of a surprise that the Supreme Court did not take the case. Hugh MacBeth was evidently quite suprised that the Court denied cert. it is true that, in strictly legalistic terms, the case has not been a powerful precedent. Nevertheless, I think that it is a mistake to say that, because the cases were not argued before the Supreme Court, they lack value as historical guideposts. Rather, I agree with Matt Lister that the cases remind us why the jus soli rule is worth defending.
Indeed, in 1993 then-California Governor Pete Wilson publicly presented his project for combating illegal immigration (a portion of which was enacted by referendum the year after as Proposition 187, before being halted in court). Among Wilson's proposals was to seek either Congressional action or a Constitutional amendment to deny U.S. citizenship to children of illegal aliens. Unlike the current situation, however, these provisions did not attract the support of national leaders.
I appreciate this extra information. I had not sought, in a historical article, to examine in detail the merits of the argument that foreigners come to the United States to give birth. It might be useful to point out that such complaints are by no means new. Accusations that Mexican women were pouring across the border to have babies were aired and given credibility by THE NEW YORK TIMES at least as far back as 1982.
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Aug 9, 2010