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Immigration Reform is DOA for Now

Hopes of immigration reform ran high in 2013. The Senate (with 14 Republicans) passed a reform bill. That effort died in the House because of opposition by extremist Republicans. Hopes of resurrection before 2017 have been dashed by rhetoric on the Republican campaign trail. I refuse to use "his" name. One candidate is calling for a 1,250 mile fence (paid for by Mexico). The same guy wants to deport 11,000,000 undocumented immigrants (and their citizen children), and brandishing the offensive (and ignorant) term "anchor babies", wants to trump (oops!) the 14th amendment. Wow! Other candidates (who should know better) are climbing aboard. I am worried about America.

Let's explore the concept of "anchor baby" which suggests pregnant women come to the U.S. to give birth thereby gaining privileges or benefits. The story begins with the Supreme Court's 1857 Dred Scott decision, holding that "A free negro ... whose ancestors were brought to this country and sold as slaves, is not a "citizen" ... of the United States." The Civil Rights Act of 1866 superseded that decision. Two years later, the 14th amendment was adopted. The 14th amendment citizenship clause makes clear: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States..." That has been settled law for 150 years. Every person born in the United States (other than children of certain diplomats) is a U.S. citizen. Period.

The candidates cannot simply toss out the 14th Amendment and 150 years of history. Let's explore the concept: "anchor baby". A child born in the United States can confer no rights or privileges on parents until age 21. Even then, if the parents had entered illegally and stayed to raise their child, the parents would be required to leave and remain outside of the U.S. for another 10 years before being eligible to obtain lawful permanent residence. Somehow, a 31-year program relying on an "anchor baby" does not seem like a good plan.

Republican candidates simply do not "get it". Apparently, they do not care. It is extremely unlikely that any "good" immigration bills can blossom in this atmosphere.

At Miley & Brown, P.C., we applaud any efforts to move smart immigration reform. We can all help by visiting us at where you can contact Congress to tell them what you think.

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  • Rated By Super Lawyers Craig E. Miley
  • Rated By Super Lawyers Sarah Z. Brown
  • Rated By Super Lawyers Michael W. Canton
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