The immigrant kids next door

Updated
A new report from the Pew Hispanic Center (pdf) estimates that eight percent of the babies born in the U.S. in 2008 had at least one parent who was in the country illegally. For conservatives thinking of ending birthright citizenship by an overhaul or repeal the 14 Amendment, that’s the kind of number you can stump on. They keep warning us about “anchor babies,” dropped here by mothers who slip over the border – the southern border, of course – and then use their infant’s citizenship rights to pull countless more family members into the U.S. Even if you accept the argument that mothers routinely cross the border to give birth and get citizenship rights for the baby, it doesn’t follow that most of them do, or that it’s a reason for America to give up on the idea that if you’re born here, you belong here. The Pew report shows that more than half of all illegal immigrant mothers have been in the U.S. for at least five years. Regardless of whether they were born here, they and their kids are becoming American because they’re woven into every part of our society. Think you don’t know any families affected by immigration law? Twenty-four percent of all kids 17 and under have an immigrant parent, the Pew report says. Seven out of every hundred kids now in the U.S. have at least one parent who’s not here legally. For them, the threat of that Mom or Dad will be deported is a constant, daily reality. When we talk about illegal immigration on the Mexican border, we’re really describing two separate groups – the violent drug cartels who are welcome on no one’s turf, and the families who live next door. [Pew Hispanic Center report]

The immigrant kids next door

Updated