Thursday, February 22, 2007

Nativist Fears of Immigrant Women Giving Birth

Which Babies Are Real Americans?
By Priscilla Huang. February 20, 2007

Yuki Lin , born on the stroke of midnight this New Year’s, became the winner of a random drawing for a national Toys “R” Us sweepstakes. The company had promised a $25,000 U.S. savings bond to the “first American baby born in 2007.” However, Yuki lost her prize after the company learned that her mother was an undocumented U.S. resident. Instead, the bond went to a baby in Gainesville, Georgia, described by her mother as “an American all the way.”

The toy retailer soon found itself in the midst of the country’s heated immigration debate. Under mounting pressure, Toys “R” Us reversed its decision and awarded savings bonds to all three babies, including Yuki. The issue of citizenship was at the heart of this controversy: Is a baby born to undocumented immigrants an American in the same way that a baby born to non-immigrant parents is? Since the 14th Amendment grants automatic citizenship to persons born on U.S. soil, both babies have equal standing as citizens. Not all people, however, view citizenship this way. As the grandmother of the Gainesville baby told reporters, “If [the mother is] an illegal alien, that makes the baby illegal.”

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