Fresh from authoring a controversial crackdown on illegal immigrants, Arizona Republican state Senator Russell Pearce is now seeking to push a measure to invalidate the citizenship of U.S.-born children of unauthorized migrants he calls “jackpot” or “anchor” babies.
Pearce told Reuters he plans to introduce a new bill in the Republican-controlled state Senate that seeks to annul the citizenship of children born to illegal immigrants in Arizona, the desert state at the heart of a furor since it passed a law last month requiring police to check the immigration status of people they suspect are in the state illegally.
“It is difficult to imagine a more self defeating legal system than one that makes unauthorized entry into the U.S. a criminal offense, and simultaneously provides perhaps the greatest possible inducement to illegal entry,” Pearce said. The children of illegal immigrants “are not citizens. They are citizens of the country of their mother … That’s why they are called in some cases ‘jackpot babies’ or ‘anchor babies,’” he added.
Arizona’s immigration law, which is set to come into effect on July 29, is supported by a clear majority of Americans. Opponents charge it is unconstitutional and racist, and have launched legal challenges to try to derail it.
Pearce did not say when he planned to push the new bill in Arizona, home to an estimated 460,000 unauthorized migrant landscapers, busboys and chambermaids. There are no figures setting out the number of their U.S. citizen children. He said he sought legal basis for stripping illegal immigrants’ U.S.-born children of their citizenship in a challenge to the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave a broad definition of citizenship to include all people born or naturalized in the United States.