Born in the USA - But should they be citizens of America?

By Gayle White, April 27, 2004; published in the Atlanta Contitution-Journal

DALTON Four-month-old David Lopez snuggles contentedly in his sister's lap, blissfully unaware of the gaping divide that separates them...

Four years ago, their parents, Jose and Beatriz, swam the Rio Grande, then paid $2,500 each for someone to drive them to Dalton, and an additional $3,000 each to bring their three older children. They live the sometimes surreptitious lives of illegal immigrants.

David was a U.S. citizen from the time he drew his first breath. He has a Social Security number. His doctor bills are paid by Medicaid. At 16, he can get a driver's license. When he's 18, he can vote. When he's 21, he can sponsor other relatives to come to the United States. And, at 35, he can run for president.

Birthright citizenship, the principle that guarantees David his rights, comes from the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Several bills before Congress would eliminate the children of illegal immigrants from the provision. Based on the birth rates, as many as 250,000 children are born to illegal immigrants each year...

Emergency Medical Assistance, a state and federally funded program mainly for illegal immigrants, paid for the birth of Jennyfer and David at Hamilton Medical Center. Whitfield County gets as many as 40 applications a month, almost all from pregnant Hispanic women, said Joe Roberts, director of the county Department of Family and Children's Services. Statewide, 15,000 patients got about $58 million in assistance last year. More than 11,000 of those patients were women having babies...

As citizens, David and Jennyfer qualified automatically for newborn Medicaid to cover medical care until they are 13 months old...

More than 33,000 children of undocumented parents [illegal aliens] had received Medicaid in Georgia as of late October.

Read the complete article in the Atlanta Contitution-Journal.