Across Texas, 60,000 babies of noncitizens get U.S. birthright

Sherry Jacobson
The Dallas Morning News
8/8/2010

As Republican members of Congress press for changes to the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, preventing automatic citizenship for babies born to illegal immigrants, opponents insist the debate is not really about babies.

Instead, they say it is about politics and votes – not fixing the immigration system.

Still, the debate could resonate in Texas, where not only 1.5 million illegal immigrants are estimated to reside but at least 60,000 babies are added to their households annually.

Parkland Memorial Hospital delivers more of those babies than any other hospital in the state. Last year at Parkland, 11,071 babies were born to women who were noncitizens, about 74 percent of total deliveries. Most of these women are believed to be in the country illegally.

State Rep. Rafael Anchía, D-Dallas, accused Republicans of using the births to generate an explosive election issue.

“They’re pulling the pin on the immigration grenade,” he said. “It’s all about the November elections and continuing to use the immigration issue as a wedge to win votes this fall.”

But to Republicans, the emerging national debate is long overdue, considering that millions of immigrants have been living illegally in this country for years.

“They’re violating our law, and we’re giving their children the benefit of U.S. citizenship,” said state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, whose 2009 bill in the Legislature would have challenged the birthright of immigrant children.

Read the rest at The Dallas Morning News.

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