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What is birthright citizenship?

On Behalf of | Nov 24, 2021 | Immigration

You and your spouse are here in the United States on work visas. While you’re here, you’re blessed with a child — or maybe two.

You’re not a citizen of the United States, but what about your children? They achieved citizenship the moment they were born on U.S. soil.

The 14th Amendment gives everyone born in the United States citizenship

The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution puts it rather succinctly: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States…are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

Children born to parents who are foreign nationals may, in some cases, have dual citizenship. That may give them the right to choose which citizenship they want when they become an adult. Either way, your citizenship (or lack of citizenship) will not be a barrier to your child’s right to claim American citizenship if they want.

Your child’s citizenship doesn’t necessarily make your immigration path easier

Maybe you’ve heard the term “anchor baby,” which is often thrown around in a derisive tone by pundits and politicians with anti-immigration leanings, and you’re unsure what it means — or why it matters. It refers to children like yours — whether they were born here to parents who came to the United States on visas or parents who were undocumented.

Many people have the mistaken belief that merely having a child born on U.S. soil somehow makes the immigration process easier. In reality, your child cannot sponsor you for a green card until they are 21 or older. Further, they must be able to financially support you to meet other requirements for family-based immigration.

The road to U.S. citizenship is increasingly complicated, and policies are always changing. If you hope to remain in the United States permanently, it’s wise to seek experienced legal guidance.