V-P Nominee Kamala Harris in Birther Controversy: Who are Anchor Babies?

Harris was born in 1964 in Oakland, California, many years after her parents immigrated to the US.

The Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee, Kamala Harris, was embroiled in a 'birther controversy' after US President Donald Trump stoked a storm over her parents being immigrants. Trump had also targeted former US President Barack Obama by raising doubts over the origin of his birth.

Born to a Jamaican father and Indian mother, Harris was named as the running mate of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. The 55-year-old California senator is the first Black woman to have been shortlisted as VP nominee.

kamala harris
Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris Twitter

Trump Believes Harris Doesn't Qualify for the White House

The conspiracy theory related to Harris' birth originated after Dr John Eastman, a conservative lawyer known to strongly argue that the United States Constitution does not grant birthright citizenship, questioned Harris' eligibility for the position, in his Op-Ed published in Newsweek.

While the Biden campaign trashed the piece as racist, Trump used the same to credit the conspiracy theory. "I just heard that. I heard it today that she doesn't meet the requirements and the by the way the lawyer that wrote that piece is very highly qualified very talented lawyer," he said adding that "I would have thought, I would have assumed, that the Democrats would have checked that out before she gets chosen to run for vice president."

Harris bears a mixed parentage of African and Indian races. Her father Dr Donald Harris migrated from Jamaica, while her mother Dr Shyamala Gopalan, who hails from Chennai, India, moved to America to pursue a doctoral program at UC Berkeley on a scholarship. Harris was born in 1964 in Oakland, California, many years after her parents immigrated to the US.

Her Parents Were Not 'Citizens'

In his piece, Eastman raised questions about the citizenship of the California Senator's parents at the time of her birth. He insisted that Harris may have 'owed her allegiance to a foreign power or powers' if her parents were 'temporary visitors' and not residents, reported New York Times.

Quoting the constitutional law scholars, the outlet reported that the immigration status Harris's parents at the time of her birth is insignificant as the US Constitution automatically grants citizenship to anyone born on its soil.

The 14th Amendment of the US constitution states: "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."

Anchor Babies Trends on Twitter

Trump's remarks coupled with the birther conspiracy, soon led to anchor babies trending on Twitter. Many even went ahead to call Harris an anchor baby.

Considered to be an offensive term, Anchor baby, is used to refer to a child born to a non-citizen mother in a country that has birthright citizenship which will therefore help the mother and other family members gain legal residency.

"She was born in America. Anchor babies, according to the interpretation of our constitution, are Americans. It wouldn't matter if her parents were martians as long as she was born here," wrote a user in defence of Harris.

"I HATE THIS SHIT. My dad was born on a military base where my grandfathers was stationed and there were conspiracies about his eligibility, obviously Obama birtherism. This is a gross, dark trend in American politics about birth qualification which is all clear and obvious. Stop," expressed another user.

"Kamala is an anchor baby. Her mom and dad weren't here long enough to even apply for citizenship when she was born. Another case of the 14th Amendment being exploited by immigrants of color. It's a well oiled grift thats taken advantage of by many," wrote another user.