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Member Questions of the Week of August 16, 2010

Douglas Campbell of Conroe, TX asks: Whats the best way to address the anchor baby problem?”

OUR ANSWER: Before the actual problem can be addressed, a crucial question must be answered. Should a child born in the United States to parents who are in the country illegally automatically be a U.S. citizen? According to this blog post by Heritage expert James Carafano, the United States currently seems to grant citizenship to all children born to parents who are unlawfully in the United Statesa practice followed by virtually no other modern nation. As Carafano explains in the post, that practice raises a problem in principle because it runs against our deep respect for, and valuation of, citizenship.  Some who agree that the practice is problematic have called for changes to the 14th Amendment, which they see as the root of the problem because it grants citizenship to all those born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof. The issue does not have to be a matter of actually changing an amendment to the Constitution, however. As Heritage visiting fellow Ernest Istook says in this video, the question is really a matter of how you interpret that all-important clause that says its not just people who are born in the United States but people who are subject to the jurisdiction thereof at the time of birth. In other words, its possible to argue that the 14th Amendment does not automatically grant citizenship to the children of those who are in the U.S. illegally. One way or another, though, the issue needs to be clarified so immigration reform can move forward.

Stephen Wagner of Gilbert, AZ asks:What does it mean that Arizona is a Right to Work state?
OUR ANSWER: A Right to Work state is one that has enacted a law to secure the right of employees to decide for themselves whether to join or financially support a union, according to the National Right to Work website.  Twenty-two states have enacted Right to Work laws, including Arizona, Texas, Virginia and Florida. The remaining 28 states are what the NRTW website calls forced-unionism states. Economic freedom the fundamental right of every person to control his or her own labor and property is one of the core values of The Heritage Foundation and each year we produce The Index of Economic Freedom to demonstrate the close link between economic freedom and prosperity.

Thomas Herink of Antioch, CA asks:What is the most egregious U.S. policy toward Russia that needs to be changed?”
OUR ANSWER: Right now, the U.S. Senate must decide whether to ratify President Obamas new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which would reduce the strategic nuclear forces of both the United States and Russia to 1,550 warheads. We at The Heritage Foundation have serious concerns about this treaty. According to this backgrounder by The New START Working Group, New STARTs verification measures are less rigorous than its predecessor, simply called New START. If Russia has the necessary resources, it can deploy many more warheads and missiles than allowed by the treaty with little risk of detection, The New START Working Group explains. If the current Administration intends to pursue deeper nuclear reductions leading to nuclear elimination, verification regimes more intrusive and demanding than the now-expired START verification regime will be needed. The weak verification measures in the New START Treaty are a step in the wrong direction.

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