The birthright debate isn't new

Cropped Photo: Wolfgang Moroder / CC BY-SA 3.0 via MGN Onine

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - For generations, Washington has struggled with what rights should be granted to illegal immigrants, especially their children born in the United States.

Reigniting the debate, the president tweeted Wednesday: "The World is using our laws to our detriment. They laugh at the stupidity they see.

The White House push to revoke birthright citizenship, now part of the midterm-election mantra.

“There are 30 countries, roughly 30 countries in the world, that have birthright citizenship but only two in what the IMF declares is developed countries, the U.S. and Canada," declared counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway. "Europe doesn't have it at all. France did away with it in 1993 in fact.”

And it’s been a fight that at times has crossed party lines, the White House likes to point out.

Democrat Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., in 1993 said on the chamber floor in a speech, "If making it easy to be an illegal alien isn’t about offering a reward for being an illegal immigrant." Adding, "We reward that child with U.S. citizenship and guarantee full access to all public and social services this society provides and that’s a lot of services.”

“It’s definitely not new," explained Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute. "This is an issue that we’ve seen time and time again, even though we have 150 years of legal cases and practice."

Pierce said it may be resurfacing now because the president has a Supreme Court he possibly believes could back him in amending the law on his own. Although she argues, it would backfire.

The group estimates as of 2016, there were roughly 4 million children under the age of 18 who were born here in the U.S., from which at least one parent was here illegally.

Pierce cited studies by her institute, using census data. “We’ve actually estimated that revoking birthright citizenship wouldn’t actually decrease the unauthorized population. It would increase it significantly because you’d have this kind of perpetuating class of individuals who are not eligible for citizenship." She added, "If that unauthorized child has another unauthorized child, you essentially have generations that are passing along this legal problem.”

All of this presenting political crossroads, at a time when many are wondering about the direction for their futures.

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