Rep. Lamar Smith: In Some Cities, Illegal Immigrants Account For Most Births At Public Hospitals

November 10, 2010 6:27 pm ET
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SMITH:  "...Do favor and of course what almost every other country requires is that at least one of the parents be in the country legally.  Ah, there certainly should be no automatic reward ah, to a person, to a woman who managed to get into the country illegally.  Um, all-oftentimes the sheer, ah, purpose and intent of giving birth to a child that she thinks will be a U.S. citizen.  Yes, when there is about five hundred thousand, uh, illegal immigrants a year coming the country simply to give birth, and then once their child is a citizen, of course, uh, that individual can plug into all of our benefits and at some point, uh, later on the child can, of course, bring in other family members and so forth.  So it's sort of a, uh, anchor baby, uh, that leads to more chain, uh, immigration.  But the real-the real travesty is, that we should not reward an illegal immigrant who is simply trying to take advantage of America's generosity."

HOST: "So, uh, Representative Smith, what will you seek to do to move this concept forward?"

SMITH: "Well, at the right time I-I envision having hearings on the subject trying to explore whether or not we can, uh, change-change the interpretation by statute or whether it would require a Constitutional amendment-I believe that it can be done by statute for the reasons I just mentioned. Uh, also I wanna get the facts and I think it'll be very interesting to many Americans how many people do take advantage of the misinterpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment.  Uh, how many, for example, it's my understanding that in a number of the larger cities in the United States today, two-thirds of the births in public hospitals are now to illegal immigrant women.  I think it's two thirds in Dallas, two-thirds in Houston, uh, Los Angeles, maybe Chicago, and other cities as well.  And, uh, that is simply, uh, not right.  And so I do think that by shining the light on an abuse, uh, of the interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, we might be able to build some support to change it."