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Letter: 'Anchor babies' attract kin

This June 18, 2014 file-pool photo shows detainees

This June 18, 2014 file-pool photo shows detainees in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville, Texas. The surge of Central American children crossing the U.S. southern border has shifted the politics of immigration. Credit: AP

While Patrick Young's op-ed, "Trump is wrong on birth citizenship" [Opinion, Aug. 28], acknowledges that American-born children of immigrants here illegally can apply for residency for their parents when they reach 21, he fails to mention that at 18 they can sponsor a foreign-born spouse and unmarried children, and at 21 they can they can also apply for residency for siblings.

The sponsored spouse and sibling can in turn apply for residency for their parents, and siblings and so on. Thanks to the chain migration provisions of Sen. Ted Kennedy's Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the extended family of the child -- or to use the now politically incorrect term, "anchor baby" -- are all eligible to become American citizens. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, of the 1,130,818 immigrants who were granted residency in 2009, 747,413 were family-sponsored.

Further incentive for foreign-born women to give birth within the United States is it makes deportation highly unlikely for the mother of a U.S. citizen. American children are eligible at birth for free public school education and numerous welfare programs. These programs include Medicaid, disability benefits, cash assistance, food stamps and the free school lunch program.

According to a Center for Immigration Studies report, immigrant families are indeed accessing these programs. The center found that in 2012, 51 percent of households headed by people in this country illegally received at least one welfare program.

A country that cannot determine whom to grant citizenship is a country that has lost its sovereignty.

Margaret Read Federico, Massapequa