A reader diasgrees: “Your argument is interesting, but it fails to address a very important reality; that is, many foreigners come here illegally for the express purpose of giving birth to American citizens. Cutting off that avenue to citizenship would deter many would-be ‘undocumented workers’ from coming in the first place and in essense would be a major help in controlling illegal immigration in general.”
This argument is plausible, but it’s overstated. There are, indeed, some people who sneak in just to give birth to citizen children, but illegals mainly come here to earn money, and keeping them from being able to do that has got to be the chief goal — by denying them jobs, bank accounts, drivers licenses, car loans, occupational licenses, etc., in additon to seizing their assets (however limited), enforcing residential occupancy limits, and a whole array of other means. If an end to birthright citizenship were wrapped together with all of this, I could live with it, but it won’t be — instead, it will be used by the open-borders crowd as a way of preventing immigration enforcement.