What Is an Anchor Baby?

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What Is an Anchor Baby?

The term "anchor baby" is used to describe a baby or child that was born in the U.S. to parents who are illegal aliens. The term "anchor baby" is often used as a negative and derogatory term. It often refers to situations where such as child is the link or "anchor" for assisting other relatives in immigrating to the U.S.

Under birthright citizenship laws supported by the 14th Amendment, all persons born in the United States are U.S. citizens. This is true regardless of the parent’s citizenship or immigration status. As such, a child born in the U.S. may be able to petition family members for immigration into the United States later on when they get older.

Is It Illegal for Person to Come to the U.S. to Give Birth?

Many experts claim that non-citizens illegally enter the country for the sole purpose of giving birth to increase chances of citizenship later on in life. There is mixed data regarding this phenomenon, although it is a definite concern for authorities.

On the one hand, there are no laws preventing a pregnant mother from traveling to the U.S. and giving birth on U.S. soil. On the other hand, if the mother misrepresents her intentions in traveling to the U.S., she may be found guilty of a violation such as fraudulent intent in an immigration application.

Can an "Anchor Baby" Petition Family Members for Entrance into the U.S.?

Studies show that having a U.S.-born child provides only limited effects on the immigration possibilities for other family members based on a family visa. Both the child and the family member being petitioned must meet strict qualifications.

For instance, the U.S. citizen child must be at least 21 years old before they can petition a family member. Also, if the parent or relative being petitioned was in the country illegally before, the parent must be able to show that they departed the U.S. and did not return for at least 10 years.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Immigration laws can be very strict; violations of immigration laws can lead to legal penalties for the person committing the violation, and also for persons who assist in such conduct. You may wish to hire an immigration lawyer if you need help filing any claims, documents, or applications. Your attorney can assist you with those tasks and can also represent you if you need to appear before an immigration judge or panel.

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Last Modified: 04-23-2015 10:21 AM PDT

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