Anchor Babies

As promised, this week we present a debate on what popularly known as anchor babies — the idea that any child born in the U.S.A is automatically a U.S. citizen no matter what the immigration status of the parents may be.

Our debaters: Constitutional law professor and Ricochet podcast host John Yoo and author, lawyer, and columnist Ann Coulter. Not much else to say about this show except do the right thing and listen.

Music from this week’s episode:

Born In The U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen

The opening sequence for the Ricochet Podcast was composed and produced by James Lileks.

Let’s get ready to rumble, EJHill.

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There are 46 comments.

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  1. John Hendrix Thatcher
    John Hendrix
    @JohnHendrix

    Excellent Photoshop, EJ. Ya outdid yourself.

    • #1
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    I can’t listen at the moment. Is this standard debate rules or Texas Cage Match?

    • #2
  3. Peter Robinson Contributor
    Peter Robinson
    @PeterRobinson

    Percival:I can’t listen at the moment. Is this standard debate rules or Texas Cage Match?

    Standard during the first twenty minutes or so, but definitely cage match once John and Ann got going.

    • #3
  4. ToryWarWriter Thatcher
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    This clearly calls for a drinking game.

    Suggestions anyone?

    Any time McRib is mentioned to take a shot.

    • #4
  5. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Peter Robinson:

    Percival:I can’t listen at the moment. Is this standard debate rules or Texas Cage Match?

    Standard during the first twenty minutes or so, but definitely cage match once John and Ann got going.

    In  that case I’m all in for Ann.

    • #5
  6. CandE Inactive
    CandE
    @CandE

    ToryWarWriter:This clearly calls for a drinking game.

    Suggestions anyone?

    Any time McRib is mentioned to take a shot.

    Just take a shot every time shooting is mentioned.  You’ll be sloshed by the end.

    -E

    • #6
  7. billy Inactive
    billy
    @billy

    I definitely have to start dropping the phrase “cash money” into my everyday conversation more.

    • #7
  8. Mister Magic Inactive
    Mister Magic
    @MisterMagic

    Battle Royale with Cheese

    • #8
  9. Michael Sanregret Inactive
    Michael Sanregret
    @TheQuestion

    I think John Yoo was right.  Given that the Constitution and precedent supports birthright citizenship, we should feel less inhibited about denying citizenship to anchor baby parents.  It’s awkward to have an American citizen child with parents that are not legally allowed in the U.S., but that’s not the U.S.’s fault.  The child can be a dual citizen and come to America when they are old enough to be on their own, if they so choose.

    • #9
  10. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Why can’t we recognize the 14th Amendment is broken and move on from it?  There aren’t anymore slaves to deny citizenship, or wild Comanche’s on the frontier anymore.  So the days of citizenship because your mom took a squat across the border have to end. Lets try passing a law, and if the SCOTUS can’t torture the language or reality to confirm it, and we need another amendment to the constitution so be it.

    But the status quo has to end.

    • #10
  11. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    So long as immigration is regulated, immigration can be legal or illegal. The anchor baby standard is inconsistent with laws preventing children from benefiting from the crimes of their parents. We do not let the innocent children of thieves keep their parents’ ill-gotten gains. Nor do we hesitate to imprison criminals on account of their children.

    If you don’t like our immigration laws, change the laws. Don’t ignore them.

    Though anchor baby standards are important for sustaining the rule of law, they might ultimately be irrelevant to immigration control. As Dawson’s recent post about Australian laws demonstrates, few will attempt to drop anchor if you remove the incentives for sneaking in.

    • #11
  12. Commodore BTC Inactive
    Commodore BTC
    @CommodoreBTC

    Debating what the 14th Amendment means is pointless

    Five justices vote based on personal policy outcome preference. We always know what that preference will be for four of them.

    The only question is what policy outcome does Anthony Kennedy prefer.

    Legal arguments are irrelevant.

    • #12
  13. billy Inactive
    billy
    @billy

    Commodore BTC:Debating what the 14th Amendment means is pointless

    Five justices vote based on personal policy outcome preference. We always know what that preference will be for four of them.

    The only question is what policy outcome does Anthony Kennedy prefer.

    Legal arguments are irrelevant.

    That is the sad truth, not just about the 14 Amendment, but the rest of the Constitution as well.

    I’d hate to be a young Constitutional lawyer; the Supreme Court is killing your job.

    • #13
  14. Foxfier Inactive
    Foxfier
    @Foxfier

    Re-typed here:

    …The 14th amendment… is written about much more than just giving the freed slaves their rights.  For example, if you are pro-life, for example, the 14th amendment is where you get the argument that the fetus has rights, under the constitution, not to be killed killed by the state or by individuals….

    In the words of my generation– dude, do you even pro-life?

    Ignoring the issue that the Constitution is only recognizing the rights already there, the 5th Amendment about being deprived of life without due process is much more suited as a basis of argument– I’ve never heard the 14th brought up, because of that nasty little bit about being born.

    • #14
  15. Skarv Inactive
    Skarv
    @Skarv

    I hope this is not the format of the podcasts. One guest at the time is a better format,

    • #15
  16. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Holy cow, Foxfier, where did you come from?? BrentB67 and Foxfier return in the same week!

    • #16
  17. Sabrdance Member
    Sabrdance
    @Sabrdance

    Assorted thoughts:

    1.) How low have we fallen that we’re basically swooning for a Patriotic Democrat?  Both as a country and as a party.

    2.) Given how well the “the 14th Amendment bans abortion” argument is working for us, I’m not sure this is a good leading argument for John Yoo.

    3.) It seems to me that if the 14th Amendment overruled Dred Scott, then maybe a starting point would be to ask “what was the basis of Dred Scott.”

    4.) A million naturalized immigrants, compared to about 4 million births.  This seems the more relevant comparison than to the total population.

    5.) I am totally in favor of the Reality Show approach to appointing judges.

    6.) Mark Steyn pointed out earlier in the week that we have no compulsions, whatsoever, for deporting citizen minors in their parents are legal immigrants.  This seems to moot the issue.  So their children are citizens.  Whoopee.  Deport them anyway, like we already do, or allow them to stay with other family members or friends, but the parents go anyway.  They can return in 18 years.  The offensive thing is something like the DACA program, which says “well, in 18 years they’d be eligible for green cards, lets just give them one now.”

    • #17
  18. William Thompson, Intern Member
    William Thompson, Intern
    @

    This debate is something the liberals love because it takes our attention of the goal – securing our border.  Meanwhile, illegal immigrants come pouring across the border.  If we do in fact secure the border, this problem goes away.  Bottom line, just build a wall, and 8 month pregnant women will not be able to come here.  This debate is simply unnecessary rhetoric.

    • #18
  19. Foxfier Inactive
    Foxfier
    @Foxfier

    Charlotte:Holy cow, Foxfier, where did you come from?? BrentB67 and Foxfier return in the same week!

    I’m not back, sorry.

    Just happened to hear this, and my sub hasn’t run out yet.

    • #19
  20. Foxfier Inactive
    Foxfier
    @Foxfier

    William Thompson, Intern: Bottom line, just build a wall, and 8 month pregnant women will not be able to come here.

    There’s a pretty big Chinese– and I believe Russian– industry of bringing over women (legally) to give birth to their children in the US.

    Not because they want to stay, but because it’s another card up their sleeves.

    • #20
  21. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    Michael Sanregret:Given that the Constitution and precedent supports birthright citizenship…

    It does no such thing. Whatever happened to original intent in US constitutional law? Have Republicans abandoned that too? The whole “subject to the jurisdiction” clause was included at the behest of Senator Jacob Howard, who feared that without it, illegals aliens would get the benefits of the 14th. Is that clear now? The very clause that people like John Yoo argues gives illegals citizenship rights was put into the amendment explicitly to deny them birthright citizenship.

    “[The 14th amendment] will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the government of the United States, but will include every other class of person”

    Like so many other parts of our law, people like Yoo have decreed that legally, up really means sideways, because we say so, non-lawyer person. Never mind the actual text, you simpleton. This is more emanations and penumbras crap. From a Republican. Thanks for nothing.

    Further, Yoo, when pressed by Coulter on case law and originalist intent, then abandons the Constitution as a justification and starts delving into the “practical” reasons illegals should continue to get birthright. He’s not making a legal argument anymore, but a political argument. His argument sounded exactly like what Democrats are throwing at us, including the compassion angle. This is law?

    • #21
  22. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    Commodore BTC:Debating what the 14th Amendment means is pointless

    Five justices vote based on personal policy outcome preference. We always know what that preference will be for four of them.

    The only question is what policy outcome does Anthony Kennedy prefer.

    Legal arguments are irrelevant.

    I completely agree with this, in part because our legal oligarchy want it that way. As I said above, they rule by how they feel, not by what the law actually says. Liberals only love the Constitution when they think they can use text against us. THEN they’re all about original intent. And that goes away just as soon as they want to pull another Roe v. Wade out of their rears. Has it occurred to anyone else that Yoo may be taking a living Constitution approach with the 14th? Oh the irony.

    I’m under no illusions about what THIS Supreme Court would do. 6-3 for anchor babies. I don’t care how Roberts has ruled or written in the past. His integrity is gone, and everyone recognizes that. He’d simply declare immigration a tax. And Kennedy. Hell. Kennedy’s a Big L Libertarian. Borders are teh eeevil and all. You can also pile on a heaping helping of steaming rot about human dignity. He’s a bleeding heart Libertarian. So yeah, yet more of our rule of law gone to hell, I’d predict. I’d like to say God help us, but I don’t think He will.

    • #22
  23. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    I’ll have a post up about this.  Disappointed (stunningly) in Yoo, and impressed (even more stunningly) with Coulter.  Long story short, Coulter prepared and Yoo, well, prepared for something else.

    EDIT:

    Post up!

    • #23
  24. Gregg Bussell Member
    Gregg Bussell
    @GreggBussell

    What laws would be violated by simply instructing passport agents to turn away anyone who “looks” pregnant? It wouldn’t be 100% foolproof but it would cut back a large percentage of anchor babies and send a message to the offending countries.

    • #24
  25. ToryWarWriter Thatcher
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    The real question on everyones minds is how much did Peter have to drink before the show.

    Cause last time I checked Jeb was not the Governor of California and the 1880s happened before Peter was born.  But then again, I might have fell into an alternate universe or something.  Its been known to happen.

    • #25
  26. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    The verb you are looking for is “have fallen”.

    • #26
  27. Rightfromthestart Coolidge
    Rightfromthestart
    @Rightfromthestart

    ToryWarWriter:The real question on everyones minds is how much did Peter have to drink before the show.

    Cause last time I checked Jeb was not the Governor of California and the 1880s happened before Peter was born. But then again, I might have fell into an alternate universe or something. Its been known to happen.

    Ha, ha , I was about to make the same comment.

    • #27
  28. Pete Inactive
    Pete
    @petermdaniels

    Rob made a really encouraging point about how the Trump phenomenon has a good side in that it teaches Republican candidates not to be so mild-mannered in the face of politically correct bullies. Great! I certainly enjoyed his handling of the “PC-er than thou” ABC reporter.

    However, the admirable thing about conservatives, in my mind, is that they are more thoughtful than blustering, and they take the time to consider unforeseen consequences of policies and dispositions. Arthur Brooks’s effort to show the “conservative heart” — that our actions are driven by love of various goods, not simple curmudgeonliness (or “curmudgeonhood”, if that’s a word) — is deeply persuasive to former lefties like myself. Mr. Trump’s tone is not.

    Ms. Coulter’s demeanor is… well, you might say it’s a little abrasive. And while she is a delight intellectually, I don’t think she senses how the Trump posture is somewhat off-putting to would-be allies of and converts to conservatism.

    This cycle is our big chance to persuade people we’re not conservatives because we’re old, embittered, know-nothings that the media portray us as. I dearly hope we don’t squander it.

    • #28
  29. John Berg Member
    John Berg
    @JohnBerg

    I respect and admire John Yoo, but I think Ann won this debate hands down.  Lot’s of fun!

    • #29
  30. Chris Campion Coolidge
    Chris Campion
    @ChrisCampion

    Not quite sure what all the hand-wringing is about regarding the podcast content and Yoo v. Coulter.  Guests are brought on to discuss the issues, and they did, and they mixed it up a bit.

    I certainly hope no one whoopsed their didies over the meatier content.

    • #30