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« Guest-blogger Greg Robinson | Main | When Birthright Citizenship was last "Reconsidered": REGAN v. KING and Asian Americans Part III »

August 09, 2010


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"Yet the lawsuit against the Nisei voters was intended as but an opening step: the petitioners publicly announced that their larger goal was to overturn the 1898 U.S. Supreme Court case of Wong Kim Ark, which had enshrined the principle of automatic birthright citizenship for all persons born in the United States."

Thank you for these interesting and informative posts - the quote above is especially interesting, as several anti-immigrant groups (among them the ironically named FAIR, Federation for American Immigration Reform) have expressed the same goal in years past. The recent push to rescind or have the Supreme Court "reinterpret" the 14th Amendment is not new, of course, and both CA and AZ have tried (unsuccessfully) to get such issues attention recently by attempting to get such laws approved as ballot initiatives. Your post demonstrates that the racism directed toward new immigrants, and their US citizen children, is nothing new. Thanks again.

Greg Robinson

Indeed, in 1993 then-California Governor Pete Wilson publicly presented his project for combating illegal immigration (a portion of which was enacted by referendum the year after as Proposition 187, before being halted in court). Among Wilson's proposals was to seek either Congressional action or a Constitutional amendment to deny U.S. citizenship to children of illegal aliens. Unlike the current situation, however, these provisions did not attract the support of national leaders.

Warren V. Norred

But it appears to me that the Wong Kim Ark case is distinguishable from the scenario discussed by those who complain of anchor babies. In Wong Kim Ark, the parents had been in the U.S. legally. It appears inappropriate to me to conclude that babies born to illegal immigrants would get the same treatment based on that case.

And how do you get around the discussion cited by Erhler on the Expatriation Act of 1868?

Not that Wikipedia is an authority, I found this little tidbit interesting regarding Birth Tourism...seems to indicate that Korean and other Asian mothers are having kids in the US for various reasons.

Greg Robinson

First, as Mr. Norred mentions, much of the complaint about "anchor babies" is not so much about people who have come into the country illegally as people who allegedly visit the United States deliberately to give birth. Secondly, the distinction with the case of Wong Kim Ark seems less clearcut, in historical if not in legal terms. Because of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and its statutory descendants, only a few Chinese were permitted to enter the country legally, and as a result there was mass illegal immigration by Chinese in the form of "paper sons" and claimants to U.S. citizenship.

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