Judicial Watch • Louisiana’s Anchor Baby Crisis

Louisiana’s Anchor Baby Crisis

Louisiana’s Anchor Baby Crisis

DECEMBER 11, 2006

The New Orleans health system is overwhelmed with a massive baby boom generated by pregnant illegal immigrants participating in the ailing city’s post Hurricane Katrina reconstruction efforts.

More than 1,200 pregnant illegal immigrants have received U.S. taxpayer-funded prenatal care this year alone from the Louisiana Department of Health and many more have shown up in labor at emergency rooms, where they are required by federal law to be treated even if they are in the country illegally.

Doctors at one Louisiana hospital say they deliver about 240 “anchor babies” each month, which presents a huge burden to a struggling health care system still feeling the effects of a devastating storm that caused an exodus of physicians and the closure to key medical facilities. One Latino Health Network official said prenatal care for illegal aliens in New Orleans is “our daily nightmare.”

Although the parents are in the country illegally, the burden to American taxpayers doesn’t end in the delivery room because the babies are automatically American citizens with full benefits. They are entitled to government-financed health insurance and a monthly ration of baby formula, juice, cheese and other food for the mother. When they get older, the anchor babies are entitled to a free public school education.

The illegal immigrant crisis in New Orleans is nothing new. Earlier this year a university study revealed that a quarter of the construction workers rebuilding the city in the aftermath of the storm were illegal immigrants. Many of them were already pregnant when they arrived.

It’s estimated that more than 300,000 so-called anchor babies are annually born to illegal alien mothers in the U.S. Besides billions of dollars in medical costs, a Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons report says that these anchor babies have caused enormous rises in Medicaid costs and stipends under supplemental security and disability income.

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