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Thanks in large part to Pat Buchanan’s new book, State of Emergency, more and more Americans are becoming aware of the scandal of what he calls “anchor babies.”

Anchor babies are children born in the United States of mothers who have no right to be here.  But because the Fourteenth Amendment provides that “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States,” anchor babies are not only citizens themselves, but later can legally bring in all their relatives.

For many years, judges, lawyers, academics, and others have disagreed about the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment’s phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” with many of them believing that illegal aliens were not included in that category—and, accordingly, that anchor babies had no right to be citizens, let alone the “relatives” they bring in.

To clarify the Fourteenth Amendment’s language, and stem the relentless tide of illegal aliens who come to the United States merely to deliver a newly minted American citizen, over the years curative legislation has been introduced in Congress. 

An example is the Citzenship Reform Act (H.R. 698), introduced on February 9, 2005, which limits automatic citizenship at birth to a child born in the United States who: (1) was born in wedlock (excluding “common law” marriages) to a parent either of whom is a U.S. citizen or national, or is an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence who maintains such residence; or (2) was born out of wedlock to a mother who is a U.S. citizen or national, or is an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence who maintains such residence.”

H.R. 698 had 87 co-sponsors, roughly 25% of the House of Representatives.

On February 9, 2005, the bill was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, and on March 2, 2005, to the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims.

It has not been heard from since, even though the subcommittee’s chairman is Republican John N. Hostettler from Indiana (202-225-4636).

Perhaps the disappearance of H.R. 698 is attributable to the makeup of the subcommittee.  In addition to Hostettler, there are nine other Republicans. Three are from California, two are from Texas, one is from Arizona.  (The other three are from Iowa, Virginia, and South Carolina.)

There are six Democrat members of the subcommittee.  The senior member is the well known stateswoman, Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas).  Four out of five of the other subcommittee members are from California, including Mad Maxine Waters (the others are Berman, Lofgren, and Sanchez).  The fifth member is one of the most liberal members of the House, Marty Meehan from Massachusetts.

There is no doubt that if H.R. 698 became law it would face a constitutional challenge that ultimately the Supreme Court of the United States would have to resolve.  But no case raising the Fourteenth Amendment issue of automatic citizenship will ever get to the Court, unless the Citizenship Reform Act or something very much like it is enacted.

But, between the liberals in Congress, a Texan in the White House, the employer/illegal alien lobby, and the not insubstantial weight of the Mexican government, don’t hold your breath waiting for reform.

Meantime, the baby express rolls on, delivering American citizens—in name only—to our doorstep.