For several years heavily pregnant Guyanese women and many other expectant moms from several other countries have been allegedly abusing their visitor’s visa conditions, and simply use it to enter the United States so that their babies can be born there.
And once the child is born, the mother would later uplift the child’s documents, and then return home to Guyana, or wait illegally in desperation for over 21 years for a path to citizenship.
However, in the United States, babies born under such circumstances are often degradingly labeled as “anchor babies”.
The term was coined around 1987 by various American groups who had used it as a degrading term in reference to the Vietnamese boat people, but has since evolved into a keyword of reference to children born in the U.S, but whose parents are not US residents.
President Donald Trump and several other American leaders have also used the term more often in recent times, to describe children who were born in the United States to parents who did not have the right to reside in the United States in the first place, or who had simply entered the country to have their babies.
As a matter of fact, President Trump has flatly said repeatedly that babies born in the United States to parents who are not US citizens (or green card holders) are not Americans.
His most prominent quote on that position was published during his campaign by several US media houses including CBS (see here).
Several Republican lawmakers have since argued that many parents come to the United States to have “anchor babies”, and use that medium to exploit American taxpayers-funded education and social services under the guise that the child is an American citizen.
Now, the Donald Trump administration is examining the possibility of effecting special legislation that can cause hundreds of thousands of these so-called “anchor babies” to revert back to the citizenship of their parent, if they were not legally resident in the United States at the time that they had given birth to the child.
It is widely believed that more than 2,000 pregnant Guyanese women had used the same path to have their babies born in the US, and to benefit from having a US passport during the period of 2015 to 2016 alone.
While most of them have been doing this for projected economic reasons, others are often misled into believing that if their babies are born in the United States, and is, of course, a US citizen, they as a parent can be allowed to remain in the United States.
But the United States Border officials were quick to point out that such is not necessarily the cause.
They explained that even if a parent has five minor children born in the United States, and are American citizens, but the parent does not hold a green card, that parent must leave the United States within their stipulated visitor’s visa time, or risk being deported.
Moreover, that parent would not be able to work legally in the United States or directly benefit from any welfare program, except for if they decide to defraud the system by sponging from the child’s social welfare and other benefits.
Either way, many US lawmakers strongly agree that thousands of mothers are deliberately leaving their home countries, including Guyana, to come to the United States and have “anchor babies”.
With mounting pressure from Republicans and many anti-immigrant groups, President Trump now wants to find a way to revoke the citizenship status of those so-called “anchor children”, and instead grant them special residency status, as a foreign citizen born on American soil.
In that way, the child would technically be a foreign national with the rights to live and work in the United States, but obviously would not be an American citizen.
And there is little doubt that the President would not press on with such a move before the end of his first term as President of the United States.
But if he does, it is widely believed that more than 4,000 Guyanese children who were born to non-resident parents in the United States over the past ten years at least, will be severely affected.