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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.