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Center for Immigration Studies Attacks 14th Amendment. Again.

Guest Blogger • Jul 21, 2011

by Michael Dranove

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), simply put, is stepping up its campaign to repeal birthright citizenship in the United States.

In a recent report released by CIS, “Legal Policy Analyst” Jon Feere makes the case that the 14th amendment should not apply to the children of foreign diplomats.

This represents only one of the more recent in a series of attacks by the CIS on the 14th Amendment, a civil rights watershed that grants citizenship to any child born in the United States.

Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) was founded in 1985 as a project of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Washington, DC, based “think tank” that portrays itself as an unbiased, mainstream organization that studies the impact of immigration in the United States.  More accurately, however, CIS is part of the John Tanton Network, a web of anti-immigrant organizations orchestrated by John Tanton, the white nationalist and eugenics proponent who founded the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) back in 1979.

It would be helpful to look at past statements made by CIS members to understand their reasons for wanting changes to US law and its interpretation of the 14th Amendment.  The Center for Immigration Studies commonly publishes articles that refer to the children of undocumented immigrants as “anchor babies,” a dehumanizing term used by anti-immigrant groups to describe children born to undocumented parents as little more than object for securing citizenship.

CIS has often made claims that pregnant women cross the border to ensure themselves citizenship. Statistics published by the Pew Hispanic Center indicate that immigrants tend to have children in the United States only after living here for six or more years, and rarely have children within the first two years.

However, that does not stop CIS from publishing articles that decry the “granting of citizenship [to] around 380,000 anchor babies each year.” According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “CIS often manipulates data, relying on shaky statistics or faulty logic to come to the preordained conclusion that immigration is bad for this country.”

Other attacks on birthright citizenship by CIS have included the publication of a thoroughly refuted report that contains the fallacious claim that “nearly 200,000 children are born here annually to foreign women admitted as visitors; that is, tourists, students, guestworkers, and other non-immigrant categories.”  The report was quickly torn apart by MediaMatters, which found that, along with the rest of the study, the statistic of 200,000 was a flat out fabrication. Krikorian himself can be found on record spinning the yarn of a woman whose water broke as she was being lowered over a border fence in Arizona. He, of course, uses this single incident as a basis to argue in favor of the need to repeal the birthright clause.

Needless to say, the Center for Immigration Studies, a clear front organization for the Tanton Network’s anti-immigrant agenda, will continue to produce reports that scapegoat immigrants for social ills. This report should be seen for what it is, a thinly veiled attempt to start whittling away at the protections granted to children by the 14th Amendment.

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