Last week anti-tax activist and President of Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist, declared that ending birthright citizenship would result in a “tax on every child being born.” Norquist went on to assert that new parents in the U.S. would be required to pay $1,200 to $1,600 per child for government and legal fees to prove the citizenship of their newborn resulting in $2.4 billion annually in federal revenue.
His source was a recent policy brief by the National Federation for American Policy (NFAP). Let’s first note that Norquist is an outspoken supporter of open borders immigration policies. He’s also an advocate for amnesty, signing a pledge seeking “legal avenues” for illegal aliens, and implored Republicans to allow employers in the agriculture and hospitality industries easier access to foreign workers in order to drive down wages. Also, the NFAP has never been a supporter of enforcing immigration laws and have taken open border immigration stances and called for easier access to cheap foreign labor.
Reading through NFAP’s brief it is noticeable that the costs of ending the practice of automatic birthright citizenship were simply invented and do not reflect any actual costs that would arise. Why would someone need to pay additional fees and legal costs to receive citizenship for their newborn? Hospitals already issue birth certificates and Social Security numbers to each newborn whether or not the parents can prove citizenship or legal status (easily done by providing a valid ID or green card – with no additional cost associated).
How much of a burden would it put on parents to show documentation that they were legal residents of the United States? How many U.S. citizens cannot provide proof of their citizenship? The answer is not much and not many. Weigh this against the benefit of being a U.S. citizen. And what is birthright citizenship costing U.S. taxpayers every year? Grover Norquist doesn’t address these questions, and I doubt if he cares. The irony of all this is that while Mr. Norquist and NFAP complain about the difficulty of documenting citizenship, they have consistently fought all efforts to create secure and verifiable documents.
Additionally, the NFAP has historically opposed enforcing immigration laws, arguing that because they cost money they should not be enforced. I am at a bit of a loss here, enforcing laws almost always costs taxpayers money without assurance that it will prevent future crime, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t enforce the law.
I actually respect Grover Norquist’s efforts to cut and eliminate unnecessary government spending, but I think that he should first take a closer look at the $4.2 billion that is given to illegal aliens who ‘qualified’ for the Additional Child Tax Credit in 2010 before attacking efforts to enforce immigration laws and remove the magnet that attracts millions of illegal aliens to the U.S. each year. It is one thing to campaign against excessive spending and onerous taxation. It is another thing altogether to make outrageous and absurd statements and try to pass them off as sound public policy.