Deportation of 4-Year-Old US Citizen Reignites 'Anchor Babies' Debate
The case of Emily Ruiz’s is refueling the debate surrounding the legal status of the children dubbed by immigration reformers as “anchor babies.”
Emily, who was born in the United States to illegal immigrants, was supposed to return to New York on March 11, according to the New York Times. Emily’s grandfather was accompanying her back home after a trip to Guatemala. But bad weather forced their flight to divert to Dulles International Airport near Washington, where officials told Emily’s grandfather that an immigration infraction of his from two decades ago meant he could no longer remain in the U.S., the Times reports.
What happened next is unclear. Customs and Border Protection officials say they offered Leonel Ruiz, Emily’s father, the opportunity to pick her up at the airport, the Times says. Ruiz said that he was told Emily could either head back to Guatemala with her grandfather or enter into the custody of the State of Virginia. Ruiz chose to have Emily return to Guatemala.
As a so-called anchor baby, Emily has to deal with the legal complexities that come with her citizenship. “Today, Emily is in Guatemala, her parents are struggling to bring her home, and lawyers and federal officials are arguing over parental responsibility and citizenship rights,” the Times wrote. The family’s attorney plans to head to Guatemala to accompany Emily back to Long Island, the paper adds.
The Long Island native’s case arrives as elected officials across the nation are backing bills seeking to end automatic citizenship to children born here, the paper says. This debate was recently chronicled by Time.