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Posted by on Jan 7, 2007 in Society | 12 comments

Toys-R-Us and the Immigration Debate


The New York Times:

It seemed like a perfect formula for good publicity: A national sweepstakes would award a $25,000 United States savings bond to the first American baby born in 2007, courtesy of the toy chain Toys “R� Us and its Babies “R� Us division.

Instead, after disqualifying a Chinese-American baby girl born in New York Downtown Hospital at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s, the toy company finds itself caught in the glare of the immigration debate, stumbling over the nation’s new demographic realities.

The baby girl, Yuki Lin, was an American citizen from the second the ball dropped in Times Square, where the Toys “R� Us flagship store draws thousands of shoppers from around the world. But like 6 out of 10 babies born in the city — including at least two others born in Brooklyn about the same moment — she has immigrant parents. And according to the contest’s fine print, the chain decided, she was ruled out because her mother was not a legal resident.

It definitely seems like the company has a fair point; besides, it is their prize. Those opposed to the firm’s decision have good points, though.

“They want business from China,� said Mr. Wang, 39, adding that most of the chain’s toys are made by Chinese workers in China. “But when it comes to this Chinese-American U.S. citizen, she was deprived of $25,000 intended to be used for her college education, because of who her parents are.�

That is an interesting question, but one can definitely argue that the child doesn’t deserve to be an American citizen. Why not ship the prize to an infant born overseas because their parents are patiently waiting in the LEGAL immigration process, then?

“The schools accept children whose parents are illegal aliens in this country, so why is Toys ‘R’ Us taking this kind of position?� he asked. “They’re supported by many people, whether they’re legal or illegal, shopping in their stores, and they’re injecting themselves into this debate.�

I don’t think this is a good argument. Because illegals shop in the chain, the store is obligated to subsidize illegal immigration as a matter of course? This vicious circle is pretty ridiculous: because illegals are already integrated into society, they must be integrated moreso? Good one.

There are plenty of valid arguments that the girl shouldn’t be punished for her parents’ actions, and those are fair. In my opinion, though, Toys-R-Us has the right not to reward the crime of illegal immigration. The illegal parents, not the toy company, set this girl up for a life of potential discrimination because of their reckless behavior. Now they’re faced with a consequence of their actions, and I can’t blame them for not liking it. They might have considered that more carefully on the other side of the border.

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Copyright 2007 The Moderate Voice
  • Lynx

    Well there’s a first time for everything I suppose, and I’m glad to finally be able to agree with you on something, Andrew. Certainly it’s not the babies fault that her mother is illegal, but it IS her mother’s fault. She’s in the US, benefiting from American laws and services, while there is potentially another Chinese woman languishing in China while she waits to be able to leave legally. Hell, American law even means that she can have as many babies as she wants. If this baby GIRL had been born in China, maybe the outcome would have been very different.

    Toys’R’US is a company, if they want to make a contest that only gives the prize to the first baby born that has at least 3 generations of Americans they can. If they wanted to give the prize to the first baby born from immigrants they could AND they would have gotten no trouble for it, BTW.

  • John Swisher

    I acknowledge that the mother is at fault for illegally immigrating to the U.S. and in some regard the issue of the baby receiving the money should be moot since the mother is an illegal alien. However, babies born in the U.S. are considered U.S. citizens regardless of the status of their parents. Such babies are often referred to as “anchor children” since their birth often enables their parents to become citizens faster. In short, I believe that technically the baby is entitled to the money since it is a legal citizen of the U.S., regardless of the status of its parents. However, ultimately the contest is controlled by Toys’R’Us, so it alone should determine whether the baby gets the prize and it should be a matter of purely philosophical debate, not legal.

  • Hannah

    If it was truly in the “fine print” of the guidelines of the contest, of course Toys R Us has every right to deny the prize to this baby. They are a privately owned company, and can do whatever they please, as you pointed out. And I think that they did choose the right course of action considering the circumstances: from a PR standpoint, it would have looked really bad if they had given the prize to a baby whose mother immigrated illegally.

    However, I don’t know whether the contest’s guidelines were completely fair. Afterall, the constitution states that any baby born on American soil is automatically a US citizen. It applies to children born to either legal or illegal residents. But, since the contest’s guidelines didn’t take this into account, Toys R Us were perfectly within their rights to deny the prize to this baby.

  • CStanley

    The article states that the contest rules stipulated that the winning baby’s MOTHER had to be a legal resident, so all other discussion is moot IMO. As Lynx mentioned, Toys R Us has the legal right to create any rules that they wish, and they then have an obligation not to change the rules after the fact. Of course from a PR standpoint, they may regret this (or not: who knows whether the flak would have been greater if they had awarded to the child of an illegal immigrant or not). But having set the rules as they did, they made the right decision to honor the rules.

  • carpeicthus

    It’s the rules. We can feel bad for the baby, or we can feel happy for the other baby who was also born at midnight, and will now win it.

  • uncle joe mccarthy

    give the kid a toy and then kick the whole lot of them out of the country

  • The kid doesn’t get the money because they (its parents) didn’t fulfill pass the rules. The mother should be a legal resident, she is not thus…

    Not Toys R Us’s fault.

    About the baby: indeed, it is now an American citizen (Ius Solis). It’s the soil for Americans, that determines one’s nationality, not ‘blood’.

    In the netherlands this is different… anyway, Joe Mc. they cannot kick the baby out. The baby is an American citizen.

    Your rules for centuries already.

  • Doesn’t anyone think it really weird that Toys R Us put on such a strange contest in the first place? And why should Toys R Us be making a statement either way on this issue?

  • Upinsmoke

    I’ve thought about that law and I personally think its time to change the law. Any baby born on American soil and has parents that are both non citizens should NOT be considered AMerican citizens. This law is like a Microsoft Virus. It needs a cure and left unchecked it runs out of control. The Baby is a citizen of the country in which its parents are citizens. Period.

  • Kevin H

    sorry, i’m just using this to test how the codes work as we no longer have a preview button

    / do ‘/’ negate tags?

    this is a quote?

  • Gene

    The law as it stands says the baby is a citizen award her the money then DEPORT THE ILEGAL MOTHER AND FATHER

  • Kamiilllla

    I think this is not fair Toys r us are stupid assholes because the prize was for the baby not for a mother who is illegal!!!Baby is legal so it should get a prize!!!!

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