Correcting A Drastic Misconception About Immigration

Although the term is offensive to many, there is a widespread belief that having an “anchor baby” is a means to circumvent the immigration process. This is inaccurate, and the myth surrounding this notion impacts how we view people. There are those who speak out against immigration and perpetuate this myth, and others falsely assume they can become U.S. citizens by having a child here. 

Why Do People Believe This?

The myth of “anchor babies” is based on two different yet separate concepts. The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that anyone born in the United States becomes a citizen. If two non-U.S. citizens visit the U.S. and their child is born here, then that child is a citizen. That is entirely accurate. 

The other concept is rooted in family-based immigration, which is the most common way people become legal permanent residents (green card holders). The U.S. allows citizens and legal permanent residents to sponsor and petition for their family members (who are not already U.S. citizens) to move and live here. 

The myth of the anchor baby is born out of these two concepts. If two non-U.S. citizens have a child here, then they can use that child to utilize family-based immigration—which is a gross misunderstanding of the law. 

What Happens After the Child Is Born?

In reality, the newborn child (who is a citizen) will not alter their parents’ immigration status. Some people believe parents cannot be deported because of the child. Sadly, this is untrue. If and when these parents are deported, they can leave their children in the U.S. to be placed in foster care, or they will return to their country of origin with them. 

It is important to note that these children can eventually petition for their parents to become legal permanent residents. However, that cannot happen until the child grows up and turns 21. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that the parents will be eligible. Having a child in the U.S. may allow you to apply for family-based immigration 21 years afterward. Any statement to the contrary is erroneous.  

Speak With An Immigration Attorney at Csépes Law Offices

If there is a positive takeaway from this, it is that family-based immigration is a common way for non-U.S. citizen family members to live here. At Csépes Law Offices, we are committed to helping loved ones stay together. We can achieve this by petitioning for citizens’ relatives to join you in this country. For more information about how we can assist you with your family-based immigration needs, contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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