Caplis agreed with caller's false claim that illegal immigrant's "illegal status is removed" when she has children in United States

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

630 KHOW radio co-host Dan Caplis agreed with a caller who claimed that an illegal immigrant who gave birth to a child in the United States would ensure her "illegal status is removed." In fact, federal law has no such effect and stipulates that U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants must wait until they are 21 to petition for their parents to be given legal status.

On the October 19 broadcast of 630 KHOW's Caplis and Silverman, co-host Dan Caplis agreed with a caller who falsely asserted that an illegal immigrant mother who gives birth to a baby in the United States "automatically gets to stay," and her "illegal status is removed." In fact, while children born in the United States to illegal immigrants automatically become U.S. citizens, those children must wait until they turn 21 before they can petition for their parents to be granted legal status.

From the October 19 broadcast of 630 KHOW's Caplis and Silverman:

CAPLIS: [Caller], you're with Dan and Craig -- 630 KHOW -- welcome.

CALLER: Hey guys, one thing that I found out and that I think that the law would be good for is that -- I don't care what nationality you are, if you're illegal in this country and you're female and you're pregnant, and then you -- get -- go to a free clinic, okay, from a county or state government, and the baby is born in this country, then the mother, okay, because the baby now becomes a naturalized citizen, automatically gets to stay, and her illegal status is removed. And I feel, based on what I've seen -- I've helped friends out, neighbors out, taking people to clinics -- I feel that they're taking advantage of this loophole.

CAPLIS: Sure they are, just as you would be or I would be. Let's deal with the problem at its roots, my friend, and let's shut that border down.

The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states in part: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." Congress has passed legislation carrying language similar to the constitutional wording. However, the birth of a child in the United States does not affect either parent's status as an illegal immigrant: Federal law stipulates that U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants must wait until they are 21 to petition for their parents to be given legal status.

As an August 29 article in the Rocky Mountain News reported:

Immigration lawyers say a lack of knowledge about immigration laws misleads many Americans into thinking a U.S.-born child gives a parent an express pass to legal status. It doesn't.

A U.S.-born child must turn 21 before petitioning the federal government on behalf of his or her parents.

"It would be probably next to impossible" to cross the border, have a baby and get legal status because of that child, said Kim Salinas, a lawyer and immigrant advocate.

"People would have to be thinking 21 years ahead. It just doesn't happen," Salinas said.

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