Proud to be an anchor baby

Monday, January 24, 2011

...All this talk about anchor babies made us think:
Who do we know that's an anchor baby,
and what would they say about all of this? 
Tell your story.
As anti-immigrant rhetoric heated up this summer, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, questioned the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which grants the right to citizenship to anyone born in the United States.

Mr. Graham, speaking on Fox News, said it was “a mistake” to allow American-born children of illegal immigrants to become citizens automatically, a practice known as birthright citizenship. He said that along with a plan to grant legal status to millions of illegal immigrants, he would also amend the 14th Amendment as a way of discouraging future unauthorized immigration.

Representative Duncan Hunter, Republican of California, one of those pushing for Congressional action on the issue, stirred controversy when he suggested that children born in the United States to illegal immigrants should be deported with their parents until the birthright citizenship policy was changed.

“And we’re not being mean,” Mr. Hunter told a Tea Party rally in Southern California. “We’re just saying it takes more than walking across the border to become an American citizen. It’s what’s in our souls."

Anti-immigrant hard-liners kept the drumbeat running all fall. The first week of 2011, they came out with their new plan. They say they have decided to leave the 14th amendment alone for now; the process to amend it is too painstaking (phew...thanks founding fathers!). Instead, they are considering "a move to create two kinds of birth certificates in their states, one for the children of citizens and another for the children of illegal immigrants."

The idea of a special birth certificate for newborn babies of undocumented people is chilling.  Immigrant families already face so many economic, social and legal hurdles. Babies who could be denied care, schooling, or access to their families because of their status could mean life or death. ACRJ will work with our friends in immigrant rights organizations to oppose this at every turn.

To fan the flames of fear, and to conjure up images of Mexican women racing across the border to give birth, anti-immigrant groups and lawmakers used the word, "anchor baby" repeatedly.   Given that anchor baby is a slur, there is no scientific definition. It seems from general usage it means (and Wikipedia agrees) the US born child of undocumented immigrants. But...the undocumented part seems besides the point. OUR definition is anyone who was born here of parents who were not US citizens.

All this talk about anchor babies made us think...who do we know that's an anchor baby, and what would they say about all of this?

Yvonne Tran, daughter of two Vietnamese/Chinese refugees, told us about her life as an "anchor baby."

Are you an anchor baby? Were you born in the US to parents who were not citizens?  Tell us about it here.

Sources for this story:
Birthright Citizenship Looms as Next Immigration Battle, New York Times, January 4, 2011
Citizenship From Birth Is Challenged on the Right, New York Times, August 6, 2010

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