GOP Presidential Candidates Nearly Unanimously Agree on Ending Anchor Baby Policy, Matching Up with Voters

Eric Thayer/Bloomberg/Justin Sullivan/ROBYN BECK/KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images
Eric Thayer/Bloomberg/Justin Sullivan/ROBYN BECK/KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Ending the nation’s anchor baby policy, which rewards the United States-born children of illegal aliens with birthright American citizenship, has quickly become a consensus issue among most Republican presidential hopefuls — a move that finally puts candidates in line with their voters.

Annually, nearly 400,000 “anchor babies,” the term used to describe the U.S.-born children of illegal aliens, are delivered across all 50 states. Anchor babies are rewarded with birthright citizenship despite their parents having no legitimate ties to the U.S., many having only recently arrived illegally.

Years later, when anchor babies become adults, they can sponsor their parents and foreign relatives for green cards — anchoring their family in the U.S. for generations to come. The prize of birthright American citizenship is so coveted among foreign nationals that birth tourism has become a lucrative business.

During Wednesday evening’s debate, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy reiterated that he would move to end birthright citizenship as president:

I favor ending birthright citizenship for the kids of illegal immigrants in this country. Now the left will howl about the Constitution and the 14th Amendment. The difference between me and them is I’ve actually read the 14th Amendment. What it says is that ‘all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the laws and jurisdictions thereof are citizens.’ [Emphasis added]

So nobody believes that the kid of a Mexican diplomat in this country enjoys birthright citizenship — not a judge or legal scholar will disagree with me on that. Well if the kid of a Mexican diplomat doesn’t enjoy birthright citizenship then neither does the kid of an illegal migrant who broke the law to come here. [Emphasis added]

Of course, former President Donald Trump has floated his plan for ending birthright citizenship for years. Trump first said he opposed birthright citizenship back in 2015 and has consistently held that view but stopped short of ending the policy while he was president.

Now, Trump is again promising to end birthright citizenship, telling voters in May that he will sign an executive order on day one to end the policy:

On day one of my new term in office I will sign an executive order making clear to federal agencies that under the correct interpretation of the law going forward the future children of illegal aliens will not receive automatic U.S. citizenship. [Emphasis added]

Trump Campaign

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) includes ending birthright citizenship in his official immigration platform as part of his presidential bid:

We will take action to end the idea that the children of illegal aliens are entitled to birthright citizenship if they are born in the United States. Dangling the prize of citizenship to the future offspring of illegal immigrants is a major driver of illegal migration. It is also inconsistent with the original understanding of 14th Amendment, and we will force the courts and Congress to finally address this failed policy. [Emphasis added]

Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley told Fox News in July that she, like other Republicans, opposes birthright citizenship but did not detail any plans to do away with the policy.

“For the five million people who’ve entered our country illegally, I am against birthright citizenship,” Haley said on Fox News Sunday. “For those that are in this country legally, of course, I think we go according to the Constitution, and that’s fine.

A pregnant immigrant from Haiti is assisted while having contractions by her partner (L) and another immigrant, after she crossed from Mexico, with the U.S.-Mexico border barrier in the background, on May 21, 2022 in San Luis, Arizona. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A pregnant immigrant from Haiti is assisted by her partner (left, center) and another immigrant while having contractions after she crossed from Mexico, with the U.S.-Mexico border barrier in the background, on May 21, 2022 in San Luis, Arizona. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Other GOP presidential candidates have suggested they oppose birthright citizenship.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), for instance, has not committed to ending birthright citizenship, but at Wednesday evening’s debate, he said the policy has been manipulated to serve illegal aliens.

“There’s no doubt of the fact that when you think of the Constitution and the 14th Amendment, it was certainly written as it relates to slavery, not as it relates to illegal immigration,” Scott said. “It’s been applied to illegal immigration. The challenge that we face is in fact one that has to do with whether or not the people that come here are under the jurisdiction of our laws and frankly, if you come here illegally, you are not.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) have both previously suggested they oppose birthright citizenship but have yet to make the issue part of their presidential bids.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) has not yet commented on the issue.

For years, the majority of Republican voters have said they want to see birthright citizenship ended altogether.

In 2021, a survey from the pro-open borders Cato Institute found that more than 6-in-10 GOP voters said they oppose birthright citizenship. A 2018 poll from Rasmussen Reports showed that 72 percent of GOP voters likewise oppose birthright citizenship.

Meanwhile, the policy has ballooned the number of anchor babies now in the U.S. with their illegal alien parents. Today there are about 5.8 million anchor babies in the U.S. — a population six times that of Jacksonville, Florida. Anchor babies and their illegal alien parents cost American taxpayers more than $150 billion annually.

To date, the U.S. Supreme Court has never explicitly ruled that the U.S.-born children of illegal aliens must be granted birthright citizenship, and a number of legal scholars dispute the idea.

Many leading conservative scholars argue the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment does not provide mandatory birthright citizenship to the U.S.-born children of illegal aliens or noncitizens, because these children are not subject to U.S. jurisdiction as that language was understood when the 14th Amendment was ratified.

The U.S. and Canada are among only a handful of developed nations, mostly in North and South America, that have a birthright citizenship policy for anyone, regardless of immigration status, born within its physical borders.

Nations like Australia, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, New Zealand, and Spain, among others, reserve birthright citizenship for children born to at least one citizen parent.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here


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