Thursday, April 16, 2009

Anchor (babies) aweigh

An article in yesterday's Arizona Republic reports that 73% of the children of illegal immigrants to this country are in fact American-born citizens.

This is hardly surprising, as the phenomenon of "anchor babies" is well-documented. The authors of the story admit as much, albeit couched in more PC language:

"Many illegal immigrants come to the United States hoping to find work, not to start a family. But the longer they stay, the more likely they are to have children born in the United States, which makes it harder for them to return to their home country." ... Although it is convenient for the federal government to classify individuals into categories such as "undocumented" immigrants or legal residents or citizens, 'it's not so easy to fit families into that same set of little boxes,' [Pew Hispanic Center demographer Jeffrey] Passel said. 'That complicates, I think, greatly the difficulty of the task of coming up with policies to deal with this population.'" (Emphases mine)

Which, of course, is exactly the point of having these children after arriving here. Once nabbed for being here illegally, point to the little ones and cry hardship, as an illegal immigrant interviewed for the piece clearly illustrates:

"I want to stay here for my children," José Luis said. "They were born here, and they have more opportunities here."

Unfairly, as those opportunities are paid for by the citizens and legal residents of this country, and are denied to the children of those willing to wait the time and pay the fees to come here legally. That immigrant's plea is nothing more than an underhanded and misdirected attempt at tugging the heartstrings of the rest of the law-abiding population.

We have a certain amount of sympathy for those children as well, as they had no choice in the location of their birth. However, the adults in a given family are the supposed to be the responsible ones, and as such should be held accountable for their actions, even if that means that their minor children must accompany them back to their home countries.

Look, if a family broke into an unoccupied house and lived there for awhile, and then once discovered claimed that they should be allowed to stay because their kids would be otherwise homeless, there's no way that argument would wash. How about if someone stole a TV, but then tried to claim that it was for their rugrats to watch educational programming? Or a parent convicted of theft who attempts to convince a judge that they should stay out of jail in order to care for their children, as they could do a much better job than foster care?

Exactly. None of these fanciful pleas would get anywhere, and neither should the "anchor baby" argument.

I'm no huge fan of Arizona Senator John McCain, but he accurately sees the issue as a shameful lack of border control by the Feds:

"But when asked about the increasing numbers of U.S.-born children of immigrants, McCain said, 'I think the obvious answer is: If you secure our borders, and we do not allow people in this country illegally, then you don't have that problem. I think it's because we have failed to secure our borders.'"

Pretty much. Get the border under control, then we'll talk about attempting to solve the myriad societal issues that have directly resulted from the 23 years of lax-enforcment since the last amnesty in 1986, which also promised us better-enforced borders.

We're still waiting.

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