Patterico's Pontifications


Heartbreaking Dilemmas In Immigration Policy

Filed under: Court Decisions,Immigration,Public Policy — Justin Levine @ 4:34 pm

[posted by Justin Levine]

Even for someone like me who advocates cracking down strongly on the illegal immigration problem plaguing the country, I have to admit that this case is heartbreaking. (Be sure to read the letters from the U.S. children begging the court not force them to make the choice of going to Mexico, or continue living here without parents.)

What’s the solution? Like everyone else I suspect, I really have no clue. Who the hell can ignore the concerns of these U.S. kids in their letters? Do we want to effectively punish them for their parent’s choices that were made decades ago? I don’t. But at the same time, if we give effective amnesty to all illegal aliens who give birth in this counrty, then it is essentially conceding defeat over our border problems – giving us a de facto open border policy. 

Some questions remain unanswered in this case. Why were these parents specifically targeted for deportation out of all of the illegal aliens in California? This is unclear. But as anyone who follows this debate knows, illegal aliens usually don’t get deported randomly. Something has to happen to bring them on the fed’s radar screen. I’d be curious to know the backstory here. One of the children indicates in her letter that the only crime her parents ever committed was entering the U.S. illegally in the 1980’s. Can this statement be trusted? Maybe. But there must be more to the story here. Illegal aliens with four U.S. citizen children here simply aren’t picked randomly off of the street and suddenly told to get out.

Also, when the Appeals Court first commented on this case, Judge Pregerson made a clear statement that there were  64 similar cases before them that “will have an adverse effect on children born in the United States whose parent/parents are illegal immigrants.” Was he implying that the Court heard 64 cases in the same month involving illegal immigrants facing deportation despite having children in this country who are U.S. citizens? That is the implication I get in reading these memos. If that is true, then its a huge story that the media never picked up on. But maybe I’m misinterpreting something here.

What is the specific background on these cases? Has the Justice Department suddenly begun a concerted effort to deport illegal aliens who have “anchor babies”?

I suspect that I must be missing something or misinterpreting the implications here. But if not, then this may be a big story worth looking into.

28 Responses to “Heartbreaking Dilemmas In Immigration Policy”

  1. No citizenship for children born here, if neither parent is present in the US legally nor a US citizen.

    Problem solved.

    jpm100 (851d24)

  2. jpm100 – There’d have to be some serious churn to implement your “solution”. At the very least, you’d have to repeal 8 USC 1401, overturn United States v. Wong Kim Ark, Plyler v. Doe, and then override pesky Fourteenth Amendment that helped form the basis of both decisions.

    Rick Wilcox (71646f)

  3. This case begs the question, if the parents have been here for decades did they apply for citizenship? If not, why not? If so, what is their standing? It is a very sad situation without a doubt and yet it is a risk every illegal immigrant takes when crossing the border.

    Dana (3c831e)

  4. These are just the kind of cases they want to pursue and they will want to do it very publicly so as to appeal to the public’s emotions hoping that the public will come to embrace Bush’s “New America” dream of being able to close your eyes in every US city and believing that you could be in “Santo Domingo or Santiago or San Miguel de Allende”.

    J Curtis (d21251)

  5. Rick,

    Even if crossing the border itself is on foot, travel on either side of the country is substantially less burdensome than the 1860’s. Especially when your assured of medical care and employment after you’ve crossed. Both of those would be far from assured in the 1860’s. Basically with the 14th Amendment wasn’t framed with the anticipation of the ease of illegal immigration and large numbers of ‘Anchor Babies’.

    We also have an amendment process for a reason.

    jpm100 (851d24)

  6. while the decision may not be, the choice is simple: the parents have the choice of taking their child with them or of leaving the child with (legal) relatives or friends here in the US. The parent can decide whether the advantages to having their kids raised in the United States outweighs the disadvantages of the kids living away from their parents (note: a fair number of illegals leave their kids in the home country while they come to America to make money… which seems to knock down the ‘our kids need us’ line).

    Kids don’t have a right to have their parents with them at all times. Let’s go down the slope with this one. If you let the illegal parents stay in the country because of the kids, do criminals with kids get out of jail to keep their kids from having to live with someone else?

    stevesturm (d3e296)

  7. Justin,

    There are thousands of families like this one who live in Mexico and whose kids are not able to realize their dreams because of family circumstances. I submit that what bothers you about this case is that these people had, but are now losing, the American dream.

    I agree it is a sad case but the saddest part is that it was caused by the parents’ choice not to seek legal status at some point. They gambled with their status for at least 17 years, and their children are the losers.

    DRJ (c4368f)

  8. JPM

    Then show us your grandparent or great grand parents 5 year work visa stamped by the Port Authority, because without it most of us are illegal alien anchor babies

    for 175 years the custom was to turn an eye to the cheap labor, now enforcement is going to have heart breaking consequences and as a compassionate nation, who tries to lead the world in freedom and humane treatment we are faced with becoming something different.

    EricPWJohnson (695c44)

  9. I think anchor babies can be defeated without a Constitutional amendment. The Constitution says that anyone born here to parents under jurisdiction of the US is a citizen. I say we declare that a person who is here illegally has not submitted to the jurisdiction of the US, so their baby is not subject to the citizenship by birth provisions.

    Ken (245846)

  10. There is something very weird about this case.
    “Despite having lived in this country for nearly a quarter of a century,…” That would be 1981? Why were they ineligible for the Reagan era amnesty? Were they rejected, or did they never apply?
    I don’t understand the part about the kids not being able to get a college education in Mexico, either. My cousin went to medical school there for two years and he got a great education, and came back bilingual. It would be nice to get some more info.

    tyree (e422e2)

  11. Actually Eric, most of us come from either people who came here pre-USA, or came here *GASP* LEGALLY!!!!

    What part of the whole “come here legally or get the #$@^ out” is so tough? If you want to come here so freaking badly, fill out the paperwork.

    For a good long while REALLY cheap labor was allowed “slavery”. Then it wasn’t ok. By your logic, slaver should still be allowed since it was established.

    “compassionate” isn’t the same as “do whatever you want, we don’t care”. When did “following the laws we have” go out of style for you folks?

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  12. So the same should apply to the tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from Ireland? See

    Mark V Wilson (bdc91a)

  13. Scott

    Pre USA, really? Some reports I’ve seen is about 50% of those who are of French, Polish, German, Scandanavian, Irish, and Italian descent are here illegally – if we apply these new anchor baby rules.

    Thats just a few MILLION of us.

    EricPWJohnson (695c44)

  14. Scott,

    Let me tell ya to come to America at anytime after 1812 you had to come on a work chattel contract for 5 years (very few did) and after Lincolns executive order which has never been rescinded banning all immigration from Europe (to keep the south from gaining sympathizers) there realistically was no legal immigration

    There was no mechanism for it.

    But thousands of cheap laborers filling up the mines and factories (sound familiar?) were welcomed with open arms

    EricPWJohnson (695c44)

  15. Mark V Wilson said….
    “So the same should apply to the tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from Ireland?” The answer from this Irish American is, “yes, please yes, please oh please just start enforcing the law, just get a beginning on starting to enforce it”.
    There is a misconception that is actively promoted by many leftist that the anti-illegal immigrant movement is based on racism. Although racism may play a part, it is much more a simple law and order issue. If millions of Mexicans and Irish can break our laws, why should anyone have to obey any of them? I personally want 25 years of amnesty from the IRS, do think I have snowballs chance of getting that? Why should only certain groups be given sanctuary/amnesty to only certain laws? Who decides who gets to break what law and why do they do it in such a discriminatory fashion? Why can’t my children get college tuition at a reduced rate? Don’t expect any sympathy from me for any illegal immigrant. We didn’t get any from our government when my son was one of only five in his class who spoke english, and that was 15 years ago. Not surprizingly, he didn’t learn as much as he could have at that school. They just want a better life, I was told. Well, so did my son. Change forced on a community by illegal activity should not ever be treated so lightly by our government. It hurts. It still hurts. And the day that an illegal immigrant tells me “thank you for your tolerance” is the day the healing will start. It is 40 years and I am still waiting.

    tyree (e422e2)

  16. JPM:
    Basically with the 14th Amendment wasn’t framed with the anticipation of the ease of illegal immigration and large numbers of ‘Anchor Babies’.
    Anchor babies are a lovely little spectre. Care to explain how they work on anything other than an emotional level?

    We also have an amendment process for a reason.
    Foley tried that tactic in 2003. It went nowhere (didn’t make it past introduction). No one’s tried again since.

    I say we declare that a person who is here illegally has not submitted to the jurisdiction of the US, so their baby is not subject to the citizenship by birth provisions.
    This requires overturning at the very least Plyler v. Doe, which established that even those here illegally count as being “within the jurisdiction” of the United States. You’d have to show that the 14th Amendment does not, despite the precedent established by – not to mention the precedents cited within – Plyler v. Doe, extend equal protection to those who have entered the country illegally. I’d like to see how you can argue that someone who can be prosecuted under a State’s laws is not within the jurisdiction of that State.

    Rick Wilcox (71646f)

  17. A lot of great legal opinions here. Maybe someone can answer this one. A person in this country has to fill out an application that asks if they are legally able to work in America. It is a felony to misrepresent your right to work. So what do we do with all of the tens of millions of felony employment cases throughout the country. Throw them out? Immigration amnesty is going to have to include felony amnesty of millions of peole will automatically have three strikes, requiring life imprisonment.

    tyree (e422e2)

  18. One last point, I can spell, but my typing is horrible when I am tired. Time to go home.

    tyree (e422e2)

  19. You folks don’t seem to understand the basic fact about immigration:
    People will come here as long as they can reasonably expect to have a better life economically than they can in their home country. And if they can’t do it legally, they will do it illegally.

    There are only three possible solutions:
    1)Improve conditions in the home countries, so people don’t have the motivation to leave
    2) Eliminate all restrictions on immigration, and let supply and demand of labor rule. Those that can get jobs will stay, those that can’t won’t. You can add on restrictions about immigrants not being eligible for any government supplied benefits, if that part bothers you. It won’t really matter. You can prequalify people to filter out criminals, if that part bothers you. It won’t really matter.
    3) Turn the United States into a third world country, so people won’t have the motivation to come here.

    Most of the respondents on this blog seem to prefer option 3, for some reason.

    kishnevi (03a14b)

  20. Well, Kishnevi … you know … if I can sue because the bathrooms at a wine tasting are not the way I like them or the aisles at Macy’s are too narrow for my wheelchair … maybe we need to allow in some hard-working, practical people, just trying to feed their families, in order to keep our country alive.

    nk (483a52)

  21. “You folks don’t seem to understand the basic fact about immigration:”

    One more fact is that you can never, ever have a discussion about illegal – immigration without someone calling it immigration, or migration or anything but illegal – immigration.

    As for you three options, enforcing the law would be a viable fourth option in my book.

    You are right about option number three; however, if we don’t stop people from coming here they will keep coming until living here is worse than living there.

    tyree (9874a0)

  22. We’ve sent more than one child back to parents living under communist dictators, so the precedent is set. Family rules. And Mexico is bad, but it’s not a totalitarian dicatatorship.

    In the long run, citizenship has to mean something, it has to hold more value than it currently does.

    I’d like to do some research when I get the time, on the attitude towards citizenship during the last days of the Roman empire. At the Romans’ pinnacle, being a citizen was highly prized, but as the empire deteriorated, so did the value of citizenship.

    Ray G (50194a)

  23. tyree

    I agree with your premise, but what I waa trying to imnpart was that there are choices and limitations to be made, we are a Republic and in this manner we have already made decisions.

    Many border states have stopped immigration enforcement years ago BECAUSE the majority of their leaders wished it so

    We can disagree with it, but its there plain and simple.

    Now suddenly with a fervor more manufactured than real, its the cause celeb.

    It would be simpler and kinder and better for America to end ESL in schools, to finally establish one language, and to make the committment to ending any types of entitlements to people who are not physically impaired or have not served our country, in other words if you are not a veteran or crippled or seriously handicapped you are not entitled to any money from the taxpayers.

    EricPWJohnson (695c44)

  24. NK…
    “maybe we need to allow in some hard-working, practical people, just trying to feed their families”
    I agree with that part, let’s just make sure they aren’t the kind that believes laws are for suckers, otherwise we won’t be solving any problems.

    tyree (9874a0)

  25. Eric….
    “Now suddenly with a fervor more manufactured than real, its the cause celeb.”
    Nothing could be further from the truth. The big push to do something in California about illegal immigration was over 15 years ago. Unfortunately, the minority forced it’s will on the majority and we never stopped fighting that battle. Prop 187 was itself 5 years after the Reagan era amnesty that gave legal status to 2 million illegal immigrants.

    At its core, this issue is about the law, and who gets to decide which law is going to be enforced, and which ones get to be ignored. Illegal immigration is an example of the real “culture of corruption”. It hurts and it hurts millions of people. If we just started enforcing the existing laws, and used the fines to hire more enforcers, the problem would be a lot easier to deal with. When asked, 80% of the citizens want illegal immigration stopped. Of the Mexican immigrants in California, 40% supported proposition 187. The people of the Republic have spoken long and loud in opposition to illegal immigration, and we have been ignored by the people who swore to uphold our laws. There is not one good side to any aspect of illegal immigration, no part of it that is worth supporting. If we really need more people, then lets change the immigration laws. It has been done before many times.

    tyree (9874a0)

  26. there realistically was no legal immigration

    So Ellis Island was just a pony show?

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  27. Scott Jacobs…
    Good point. I was speaking to a friend about this problem decades ago and she mentioned that her uncle was never not allowed to immigrate to the US from Italy because he had TB. Her family was upset but, at the time there was no cure and they felt that America had the right to protect itself. She told me that illegal immigration just made her sick, in a different way. Her family was hurt for obeying the law. The illegal immigrants get freebies and tons of support when they break the same law. I would think that only anarchists would love a system like that.

    tyree (9874a0)

  28. Who the hell can ignore the concerns of these U.S. kids in their letters?

    I can. I bet kids who have their parents sent to prison for criminal activity aren’t exactly happy about it either, but that doesn’t mean we let criminals go free simply because they reproduced.

    The government didn’t put the kids in this position, their parents did.

    Hollowpoint (d3a158)

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