This week Pew released a report revealing that approximately 4 million U.S. citizen children have least one parent who entered the country without authorization and nearly three quarters of all children born to undocumented parents are now U.S. citizens.  Anti-immigrant activists and former GOP state Senator Bill Morrow in California have already decided that, rather than treat these children as they would their own and invest in making them well-educated and acclimated adults, they’d rather launch a ballot initiative designed to make them second-class citizens. The North County Times reports:

A statewide initiative now being circulated would create two kinds of birth certificates: one for the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants and one for everyone else. The measure also would deny publicly funded health benefits to the children of illegal immigrants.

Hard-core restrictionist groups have also sought to highlight the cost of educating these children in order to whip-up anti-immigrant fervor in the states they reside, ignoring the fact that the children of immigrants will eventually give back to their country as wage-earning adults.  Walter Ewing, Ph.D of the Immigration Policy Center writes:

The fact is that everyone is fiscally “costly” as a child. As the National Research Council pointed out in an authoritative 1997 report on immigration, “children who consume services and pay no taxes today become contributing taxpayers tomorrow.” Why? Because, “at the state and local level, an individual or a household typically first receives costly services and transfers, particularly for education, and then in a sense pays for them later in life through taxes.” This applies to all of us, regardless of whether our families came to the United States on the Mayflower, through Ellis Island, or across the Rio Grande.

The California initiative, is unlikely to pass or hold up in court as children born in the U.S. are considered citizens under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.  However, the fact that anyone would use children and their welfare as political poker chips illustrates just how low anti-immigrant groups are willing to go and how out-of-touch they are with America’s values, ideals and future needs.

Photo by kudaker.