What's Behind Arizona's War Against 'Anchor Babies'?

The immigration fight goes another round

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If you thought that Arizona's anti illegal-immigration push would be deterred by boycotts, nationally embarrassing sports stunts, and the threat of federal retribution, you were wrong. State lawmakers have proposed a law that would deny citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants. Skeptics of his proposal, which targets what its proponents call "anchor babies," have pointed out that the 14th Amendment 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." Here's what people are saying about this latest round in Arizona's fight against illegal immigration.

  • Constitution Blocks Way of Law  Politico's Andy Barr writes, "Critics of the bill that Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce is weighing say it would fly in the face of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which grants citizenship to anyone born in the U.S. ... Previous efforts to get around the citizenship provisions in the amendment, including one in the late 19th century challenging the citizenship of the children of Chinese immigrants, have been unsuccessful."
  • 'Slippery Slope' Slide From Initial Immigration Law  Outside the Beltway's Doug Mataconis writes, "For those of us who viewed the Arizona law as dangerous not just because of its content, but because of the slippery slope it represented, this would seem to stand as confirmation that we were right."
  • Arizona GOP Defends  CNN's Ethan Harp reports, "John Kavanagh, a Republican state representative from Arizona who supports the proposed law aimed at so-called 'anchor babies,' said that the concept does not conflict with the U.S. Constitution. 'If you go back to the original intent of the drafters ... it was never intended to bestow citizenship upon aliens.' ... Arizona Republicans are expected to introduce the legislation this fall." State Senator Russell Pearce tells Politico, "This is an orchestrated effort by them to come here and have children to gain access to the great welfare state we’ve created."
  • This Is Why We Don't Legislate by Polling  Liberal blogger Digby fumes, "After all, if you'd have polled the country before they passed the 14th amendment, I have no doubt that 76% of racist confederates were against it, along with a bunch of other ignorant fools who have no idea what they are saying, just as they are today."
  • Immigration Reform's New Poster Child  The Daily Beast's Terry Greene Sterling finds Katherine Figueroa, a ten-year-old child of illegal immigrations who would lose her citizenship and be deported if the law passes. "Ever since June 2009, when her parents were arrested for toiling illegally in a Phoenix car wash and paraded with zip-tied wrists in front of TV news cameras by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s deputies, 10-year-old Katherine Figueroa has been a poster child for the Arizona pro-immigrant movement."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.