Anchor Baby

Some critics of illegal immigration claim the United States' "birthright citizenship" is an incentive for illegal immigration, and that immigrants come to this country to give birth specifically so that their child will be an American citizen. The majority of children of illegal immigrants in the United States are citizens, and the number has risen. According to a Pew Hispanic Center report, an estimated 73% of children of illegal immigrants were citizens in 2008, up from 63% in 2003. A total of 3.8 million unauthorized immigrants had at least one child who is an American citizen. In investigating a claim by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, PolitiFact found mixed evidence to support the idea that citizenship was the motivating factor. PolitiFact concludes that "[t]he data suggests that the motivator for illegal immigrants is the search for work and a better economic standing over the long term, not quickie citizenship for U.S.-born babies."

Pregnant women typically spend around $20,000 to stay in the facilities during their final months of pregnancy and an additional month to recuperate and await their new baby's U.S. passport. Some prospective mothers misrepresent their intentions of coming to the United States, a violation of U.S. immigration law; however, it is not illegal for a woman to come to the U.S. to give birth.

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