- - Thursday, February 6, 2020

Many immigration-activist groups adamantly dispute — or even flatly deny — accusations from President Trump and others that they’re in favor of “open borders.”

But the reaction of immigration activists to the most recent efforts by the Trump administration to control immigration demonstrates beyond the proverbial reasonable doubt that many immigration-activist groups won’t support even the most modest and commonsense restrictions on who is (or isn’t) allowed into the country.

That was underscored by immigration-activist groups’ hyperbolic reactions when, on Jan. 23, the State Department announced new rules that will make it more difficult for pregnant foreign nationals to travel to the United States on tourist visas.

Those rules are a long-overdue effort to crack down on so-called “birth tourism,” the practice of pregnant women from other countries traveling to the United States for the purpose of giving birth here, because the child automatically becomes a citizen, via so-called “birthright citizenship.”

But never mind that. Adrian Reyna of the far-left immigration-activist group United We Dream sought to misdirect the debate by contending that cracking down on birth tourism was just another “racist” way for Mr. Trump “to try to divide and attack families.”

“Discrimination against pregnant individuals by blocking them from coming to visit the country does nothing but keep people from their loved ones,” Mr. Reyna said.

But in the absence of birthright citizenship, there would be no reason for undertaking the considerable effort and expense involved, when the mother-to-be could more easily have the child at home.

Keeping birth tourists “from their loved ones” for a couple of extra months — until after they’ve given birth in their own countries — is not an unreasonable policy for the preservation of U.S. sovereignty over citizenship. Nor is it, as the open-borders crowd would have you believe, “racist,” “nativist” or “xenophobic.”

The new rules hopefully will put out of business an unscrupulous cottage industry that has sprung up around birth tourism to facilitate it. For sizable fees — often in the thousands of dollars — middlemen arrange the travel to the United States and accommodations for the women after they arrive here.

In one year alone, between the second half of 2016 and the first half of 2017, according to estimates by the Center for Immigration Studies, there were 33,000 births to women in the country on tourist visas.

“Closing this glaring immigration loophole will combat these endemic abuses and ultimately protect the United States from the national security risks created by this practice,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said. “It will also defend American taxpayers from having their hard-earned dollars siphoned away to finance the direct and downstream costs associated with birth tourism.”

Mr. Reyna, himself an illegal-immigrant “Dreamer,” decried what he called Mr. Trump’s “fixation on ending birthright citizenship.” But the president is right, because the abuse of birthright citizenship is the direct result of a cockeyed misreading of the U.S. Constitution. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution grants citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” but the amendment, ratified in 1868 after the Civil War, was intended to ensure the rights of newly freed slaves.

There’s nothing in the historical record to suggest it was ever intended to apply to the children of illegal immigrants, much less to those born on U.S. soil from birth tourism.

The policy of birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants born here and for birth-tourism babies stems entirely from a footnote written by U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan in a 1982 ruling in Plyler v. Doe, a case involving the funding of public education for illegal-alien children. Writing for a sharply divided 5-4 court, the archliberal Brennan asserted that “no plausible distinction” could be made “between resident aliens whose entry into the United States was lawful, and resident aliens whose entry was unlawful.”

It’s long past time for Congress and the president to repudiate Brennan’s footnote, because there is indeed a “plausible distinction” between “lawful” and “unlawful.”

The crackdown is also necessary because birth tourism feeds not only into birthright citizenship, but also chain migration. The “anchor babies” born into U.S. citizenship to these foreign women are then leveraged to argue for allowing in — and granting citizenship to — the parents and siblings of the U.S.-born children, as well as other extended-family members.

Birth tourism, birthright citizenship and chain migration are inextricably linked and must be addressed together if we are to regain control of U.S. sovereignty and to thwart the open-borders lobby’s un-American agenda.

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