There is a considerable amount of misinformation regarding some topics within immigration law. Not only is this harmful for people navigating the immigration process, but it may result in unnecessary resentment or hostility towards those people.
The Source of the Myth
People take some commonly accepted facts about immigration and link them together. They then draw a conclusion that must be true because all the pieces that created it were factual. In actuality, new scenarios open up new laws and procedures. But let’s take a look at a real-life example of this:
If you are born in the United States, then you are a citizen of this country. That is factual. And people can petition to become legal permanent residents because they have a family member who lives here. Again, that is true.
But what is not correct is the conclusion that people pull from those two facts. Some assume that undocumented noncitizens enter the United States to have a child. Once that child is born (and becomes a citizen), they now automatically become legal residents themselves—which is not valid.
The previous scenario is the myth of an anchor baby.
The truth of the situation is that there is nothing to gain personally if your child is born in the United States. People who have children in the U.S. will not circumvent the immigration system because of their infant.
Again, there is family-based immigration, but it is not being applied correctly to the situation we are discussing. The child cannot petition on behalf of his parents until he is 21 years old. It is also important to note that having a family member who is a citizen is not the only thing required to become a citizen.
Even if the parents were to wait until their child was 21 to begin the family-based immigration process, they must still prove a few key points.
Let’s take that one step further. If this family were to wait until their child is 21 and can prove their financial stability, the backlog on these petitions is significant. The length of time is dependent on the country. For example, sibling petitions for the Philippines are backed up over 20 years.
Ultimately, when you look at the facts surrounding the issue, you will quickly see how far off the idea of an anchor baby is. The perceived benefit does not compare to the reality and complexity of the situation.
At Zafiro Law, we have direct experience with assisting noncitizens through the immigration process. Whether that means helping you obtain a visa or navigating the path towards citizenship, we are here to support you. Contact Zafiro Law to schedule your consultation.