No child should have to pay for their parent’s mistakes. Although it may not seem as such, mistakes that our parents make are, sometimes more than others, unintentional. Parents always want what’s best for their children, even if it means being sacrificial. Often times more than none, illegal immigrants come to America with hopes of a better life, not only for themselves, but for their children. America is supposedly a place where dreams can come true and everyone and anyone can live the life they want to. Illegal aliens come to America with dreams of pursuing happiness with no restraints or constrictions. Unfortunately, the next generation may have to suffer due to dispute over the passing of a new constitutional amendment that may or may not deny automatic citizenship to those children of illegal aliens.
An anchor baby is a term used to describe an adolescent whose parent(s)’s are immigrants, but were born in the United States of America. According to the fourteenth amendment of the United States Constitution [Section 1, Clause 1], “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside”. Although, there has been much quarrel over the naturalization of “anchor babies” (http://www.14thamendment.us/birthright_citizenship/original_intent.html), many public opinions may be overviewed and Congress will come to a decision about adding an amendment. The Citizenship Clause elucidates the two, and only two, situations in which one would lose citizenship: fraud (in which case they would never have been a citizenship) or the act of relinquishment. For those “anchor babies”, the laws do not apply because they were born in America making them automatic United States citizens.
Changes are only made to the Constitution by adding amendments, not being allowed to subtract any. Some believe that an amendment should be added to the United States Constitution abolishing birthright citizenship to anchor babies. Some citizens believe that citizenship defined by patriotism, which is devotion to one’s country. They feel that immigrants do not show the same devotion to our country because they do not pay taxes and “may hold an allegiance to another country”, while also being treated unfairly when committing an illegal action. They [the critics] believe that illegal immigrants are being treated more fairly than they should because they are granted with automatic citizenship when their parent(s)’s committed a, what seems like, criminal actions. They [the illegal aliens] will be rewarded with citizenship when the parents will be committing an illegal action. Some people believe that citizenship is based upon devotion to one’s country rather than whether they were born in the country or not. They [critics] also believe that birthright citizenship will increase the number of illegal aliens due to birth tourism, which is travelling to another country to give birth, therefore granting their child with automatic citizenship, though their parent is not a citizen. If America continues to practice birthright citizenship, it will increase the amount of illegal aliens in the country, who, for the most part, may and will practice birth tourism. The number will increase because due to birth tourism, it will be extremely and emotionally challenging to tear families apart from each other, especially during deportation hearings. They will, therefore, use their child as a symbol of an untouchable status, avoiding deportation and eventually encountering sponsorship by grants when the child turns 21, opening doors for Visa cards for the entire family. Coming to a country illegally, especially while being with child, for mothers, can be a very dangerous procedure. Coming across to the United States may put tension and stress on a pregnant woman and may come alongside consequences, such as losing the child she was destined to bare. Lastly, they [critics] feel as though a “sleeper cell” is being planted into the nation, which is when they “enjoy the benefits of citizenship without fully disclosing themselves to government agents”. It is believed, by some, that due to the practice of birth tourism, a child may be raised in America, but will practice acts of terrorism (i.e. Hamdi) and may be a potential threat. Critics believe the following statement about abolishing the right of automatic citizenship, “The purpose of removing birthright citizenship is not to punish children for making bad choices. It simply acknowledges that our nation places certain legal requirements on citizenship which these children do not fulfill”.
On the other hand, it is believed by other faultfinders that birthright citizenship should be preserved. First off, the children will have no place to go. When children are born in the United States, they are granted with automatic citizenship; when granted with citizenship, children born in the United States cannot gain citizenship anywhere else. This leaves them with no access to any other country, and more importantly, no home to go to. Adding and passing a constitutional amendment denying automatic citizenship, also, damages American tradition, disrupts the amendment process and “alters the notion of citizenship”. Removing birthright citizenship, also, creates a permanent underclass because when deported, it is a mark of status that citizenship is not granted to them because they are inferior to other classes in America. As stated in the previous paragraph, during deportation trials, it can be a difficult, let alone, emotional situation for the family, more specifically the child. If they [the parents] are deported, leaving the child alone to fend for themselves, they will become an unaccompanied minor in a world of unawares, which is frightening for such a naïve child. Although, the parents are the one who committed the illegal action, the children are the innocent ones in the situation and do not deserve to be torn from the only home they’ve ever known or ripped apart from the only family they’ve ever had, especially at such a young age. Those who are pro-birthright citizenship would side with the quote, “We are linked by our values and allegiances, not our homelands”, because America was “built on immigration”.
When there is a creation of an underclass and net loss, problems begin to occur. If birthright citizenship is to be abolished, equalization will be demolished. Some American-born citizens will no longer be equal to others, due to where there parent(s) originated from. This idea of inequality and inferiority may stir up complications, or even worse, a rebellion. “A near-majority of Americans (48%) want to end this institution”, a fact cited by Fred Bauer of FrumForum.Com. The different proposals about birthright citizenship are, already, seen to cause upheaval in society. In the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, it states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”. If this section of the fourteenth amendment is omitted due to common discrepancy amongst 48% of Americans, the remaining 51% will want to match the opponents, which will cause a confrontation within the nation.
In conclusion, an amendment should not be passed denying those children of illegal aliens automatic citizenship. If an amendment is passed, it would conjure up many conflicts, including individual, societal and universal conflicts. Individually, it would create complications for children and parents, more so, the relationship. If a parent is deported, the child is left alone and scared, fighting for their own life without their biological guide. As far as societal conflicts, there would be the creation of net loss and an underclass. Because all American’s are created “equal”, there should be no division of classes amongst the nation. This would cause an upheaval in society regarding superiority versus inferiority, which could simply be avoided by allowing us to receive all of the same rights as well as conducts. Lastly, the birth of a larger universal conflict is at stake: future generations. Imminent generations will have to endure pain, suffering, and grief, all due to the sole fact that America, the place where they thought would bring forth hope, faith, and freedom, does not support their wishes of wanting a better life for them or their children.
D’shonda Brown, Age 16, Grade 12, Forest Hills High School, Honorable Mention