You're starting to see the GOP campaign strategy for the 2010 midterm elections unfold here in August.
Take an issue of settled law, and ignite a fire under it, knowing full well that there are enough cowards in America to make hoopla over it. Such is the case with the Fourteenth Amendment's citizenship definitions.
The bonus, as I noted yesterday, is a chance to smear the President with a false accusation of being an unnatural citizen, or at the very least a totemic image planted deep in the American psyche that is both false and hurtful to the nation.
As if they would ever care...but I digress.
About 8% of babies born in the US have at least one parent who is not a legal American resident. You'll note that means that many of those babies, let's assume half, have a legal American resident as a parent. So we're talking about 170,000 babies born here called "anchor babies", babies whose citizenship anchors the parents here in the US since courts would never allow a child to be separated from its birth parents over citizenship issues alone. If you're born here, the Fourteenth Amendment states, you are a "natural born American," with the full rights...including the right to build a mosque wherever you want...of any other American.
There are eleven million undocumented Americans. The birth rate in America is about 1% of the total population. 170,000 babies means the birth rate of undocumented Americans is in line with the total birth rate of Americans.
In other words, this is hardly a cause for people to slip across a border to drop a litter in hopes of attaining residency status.
Indeed, evidence suggests just the opposite: that immigrants are determinedly avoiding pregnancy while here, as the birth rate in Mexico itself is much higher than it is in the US (20% v. 11% of the childbearing populations respectively...the world birth rate is something like 14%).
Another reason the scare is utter bullshit is the process of obtaining citizenship for parents of "anchor babies". It is at least as complex and prolonged as the process of simply applying for citizenship:
A child must reach the ripe age of 21 before he can seek to right his parents’ illegal status. And the parents have to trek back to their native land. For many people illegally in the country, this trip back will also kick in a 10-year ban from returning. And visas have to be available, which can take decades. So by the time this “anchoring” payoff can happen, one or both parents could be dead.
Add this to the pile of garbage about the so-called "mosque" at so-called "Ground Zero," and watch the pile grow deeper and wider. Better get your hip waders. We have to dig a lot of horseshit.