In an announcement of a report released today, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) declares that “[n]early 200,000 children are estimated to have been born to women lawfully admitted as temporary visitors from all over the world in 2009.” The report then goes on to suggest that these children may grow up to be terrorist threats. Hmmmm.
First, let’s look at the actual report to see what CIS has done to concoct its numbers: they calculated the number of births from foreign visitors by figuring out how many admissions to the U.S. were of women of child-bearing age that enter as visitors and stay for more than three months, and enter as longer-term nonimmigrants and stay for more than six months. In the latter category, CIS acknowledges that multiple admissions of one person are common, so cuts the number in half (not sure why they don’t find that the case with the visitors). CIS then assigns them an average fertility rate and assumes that they are producing children at that rate in the United States.
Even assuming that their estimates of the number of women of child-bearing age who visit the U.S. are correct—a doubtful proposition in and of itself—they reach the odd conclusion that an average of 5 to 10% of these female visitors are having babies while they’re here.
Really? That would mean that one in twenty 18-year-old au pairs has a baby in the U.S. Or that shopping malls, national parks and amusement parks would be hotbeds of foreign national births, since according to USA Today, the top two activities of foreign visitors are shopping and going to parks, both man-made and natural. Clearly, that’s not happening. I mean when was the last time you saw a foreigner having a baby while shopping at Nordstrom or visiting “Old Faithful”?
Could there possibly be something wrong with CIS’ numbers? Perhaps that they were extrapolated out of thin air to scare the American public?
But the numbers part of the “study” is actually the least cartoonish part of it. The rest befits some extremist website lurking in the far corners of the internet and prone to espousing myths and half truths in support of some outlandish theory.
CIS claims, apparently seriously, that the Constitutional grant of citizenship to children born on American soil creates citizen terrorists. Citing two accused terrorists as examples, CIS leaps to the conclusion, without citation to any credible study, that Constitutional citizenship is somehow a threat to America. Of course, it does not bother to explain how these children, by virtue of being born to visitors, somehow pose a greater threat or are more likely to resort to violence than a Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph, Ted Kaczinski, or Jose Padilla, all of whom were born to U.S. citizens. Nor does it explain many thousands more of children born to non-U.S. citizens (including visitors) who have gone on to put their lives on the line defending the U.S. in the military, become community leaders, found businesses and create jobs, cure diseases, or invent shiny new toys for Americans to play with.
CIS, it’s time to stop *Making Stuff Up.