Anchor Baby: A Myth Created By Politicians


Many believe the myth of an “Anchor Baby,” where illegal immigrants are afforded lawful status by virtue of a baby being born within the United States. However, an “Anchor Baby” is only a myth. But, it must be said that this myth does hold some truth.

It is true that a baby born within the United States receives U.S. Citizenship, but this fact is fundamental to American History. Located within the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is the Citizenship Clause, which reads: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” Thus, by being born within the United States, babies from (1) U.S. Citizens, (2) Lawful Permanent Residents [Green Card Holders], (3) Visa Holders [Work Visa, Student Visa, and Tourist Visa], and (4) Illegal Immigrants are granted their fundamental right of citizenship.

Now, to the part of the myth, merely having a baby does not afford illegal immigrants a path to legal status. In fact, it takes 21 years before an “Anchor Baby” can assist their parents and siblings in becoming legal within the United States. Between the ages of birth and 21, the illegal immigrants are not afforded any protections from deportation, unless the illegal immigrants (1) marry U.S. Citizens, (2) serve in the U.S. Military, (3) qualify under DAPA* or DACA**, or (4) successfully plead an exception to deportation.

As a side note, DAPA and DACA are ways to protect certain illegal immigrants from deportation, but such programs do not, in of themselves, provide Green Cards to illegal immigrants. These programs are limited in nature and do not protect new arrivals.

Having a baby born in the U.S. does not anchor illegal immigrants to the U.S. If an illegal parent is placed in deportation proceedings, and cannot plead a legal reason to stay, the parent and the U.S. Citizen baby may be deported outside of the United States.

Thus, being an “Anchor Baby” is hardly secure enough to be called an “anchor.”

*DAPA – Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents

**DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

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