Analysis: Nearly 400K Anchor Babies Born Across U.S. Last Year, Exceeding Population of Cleveland

Illegal aliens, tourists, and foreign visa workers delivered nearly 400,000 children across the United States last year, exceeding the populations of many American cities like Cleveland, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Newark, New Jersey; and Orlando, Florida, among others.

Analysis conducted in 2018 by the Center for Immigration Studies reveals that nearly 400,000 “anchor babies,” the term used to describe the U.S.-born children of illegal aliens, are delivered across all 50 states each year.

Anchor babies are rewarded with birthright American citizenship despite their parents having no legitimate ties to the U.S., many having only recently arrived. Years later, when the child is considered an adult, they can sponsor their parents and foreign relatives for green cards — anchoring their family in the U.S. for generations.

In 2022, some 300,000 anchor babies are estimated to have been delivered to illegal alien parents. In addition, about 72,000 anchor babies were estimated to have been delivered to foreign tourists, foreign visa workers, and foreign students.

The estimate indicates that the number of anchor babies born last year exceeds the population of cities like Cleveland, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Newark, New Jersey; Orlando, Florida; Honolulu, Hawaii; Lexington, Kentucky; and St. Louis, Missouri, among others.

The late Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) once denounced the nation’s anchor baby policy.

“If making it easy to be an illegal alien isn’t enough, how about offering a reward for being an illegal immigrant,” Reid said on the Senate floor in 1993:

No sane country would do that, right? Think again. If you break our laws by entering this [country] without permission and give birth to a child, we reward that child with U.S. citizenship — a guarantee of full access to public and social services that this society provides. [Emphasis added]

To date, the U.S. Supreme Court has never explicitly ruled that the U.S.-born children of illegal aliens must be granted automatic American citizenship, and a number of legal scholars dispute the idea.

Many leading conservative scholars argue the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment does not provide mandatory birthright citizenship to the U.S.-born children of illegal aliens or noncitizens, because these children are not subject to U.S. jurisdiction as that language was understood when the 14th Amendment was ratified.

The last analysis to estimate the nation’s anchor baby population, published in 2017 by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), found that at least 4.5 million anchor babies reside in the U.S.


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