“Anchor Babies” and RIte Care

Froma Harrop calls attention to the problem that “Anchor Babies” (some consider the term to be a perjorative, incidentally) pose for immigration reform and enforcement.

Pregnant women routinely arrive in the United States in time to give birth and thereby obtain Social Security numbers for their babies — and with them, permanent entrée into American society and the socio-economic benefits it offers. Once the American-born child turns 21, he or she can sponsor his or her parents and other relatives for citizenship.
Many illegal aliens already in this country make a point of having “anchor babies” that they hope will secure them a permanent status in the United States. During the recent immigration raid at the Michael Bianco factory, in New Bedford, a number of the arrested women who had American-born children were allowed to return to the community, while the childless workers were kept in detention centers.
Changing the law will not be easy. The guarantee of citizenship to any child born on U.S. soil is in a 1952 immigration act and the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1868. When Rep. Brian Bilbray (R.-Calif.) first introduced legislation to change the law, in 1995, stopping the anchor-baby phenomenon was considered radical.
Since then, however, our broken immigration system has made the concept more mainstream. Very few countries offer this automatic citizenship. Even France has been tightening up.
Ending the citizenship birthright need not affect any future measures to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants. What it would do is end another lure to come here illegally.

Meanwhile, RIte Care is now in the process of implementing more stringent, federal guidelines that seek to prevent illegal aliens from using the system. And although even legal citizens are having a hard time proving their citizenship so that they may participate in RIteCare, the program does cover all children, whether their parents are illegal or not, so long as the kids are U.S. citizens. This is exactly the sort of thing Harrop is talking about. Finally, while the President is currently beginning a new push for “comprehensive immigration reform,” there is no discussion about fundamentally changing the citizenship equation as outlined by Harrop.

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Michael Morse
16 years ago

I am a Rescue Lieutenant in Providence. I don’t know how they do it, but many of the people who use my rescue for routine transportation to the emergency rooms for routine care use the “RItecare” card as their passport to free healthcare, zero copay’s for ER visits, prescriptions or Doctor office visits. These people are adults, many of whom cannot tell me their name when I ask in English. Currently, the program covers children and their mothers. It is not unusual for me to be called to somebody’s house, usually in the middle of the night for transport to Woman and Infants hospital for an expectant mother who’s last child is about to turn eighteen. Disabled people are also eligable. Depression is one of the criteria for disability.
We are being taken for a ride.

16 years ago

The idea of a Rhode Island fireman complaining about taxpayers being taken for a ride is straight out of a Follies skit.

16 years ago

If the Republicans were honest they would have forced an up/down, on the record vote on legislation/constitutional amendment explicitly making “anchor babies” non-citizens during the TWELVE YEARS they controlled Congress. They didn’t do it-because they are a corrupt party bought and sold by corporate money.

Michael Morse
16 years ago

I wasn’t complaining, just giving a view into the world I live and work in so that others can make informed comments rather than callous, bitter observations.

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