If you immigrate to the USA, will the baby get automatic citizenship? Wouldn't that kind of be a loophole?
Yes, the Fourteenth Amendment makes a person born on U.S. soil a U.S. citizen at the moment of birth.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.
This is not a "loophole," because it is exactly what the drafters of the Fourteenth Amendment were trying to achieve.
There are narrow exceptions because of the "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" clause:
The children of an ambassador are held to be subjects of the prince whom he represents, although born under the actual protection and in the dominions of a foreign prince. ... Thus the children of enemies, born in a place within the dominions of another sovereign, then occupied by them by conquest, are still aliens.
Not a loophole but the intent of the constitution.
Fourteenth Amendment, Section 1: 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.
It might seem odd to you because many other countries are less generous with their citizenship.
Do note the caveat. It means children born to foreign diplomats do not get automatic citizenship.
Yes, children born in the territory of the United States automatically become U.S. citizens by the 14th Amendment.
It is not a "loophole" in that, while the child is a U.S. citizen, their parents can still be deported.
The U.S.-born children of immigrants cannot sponsor their parents for a green card until they are at least 21 years of age or older. Source
As a citizen of the United States, you may help a relative become a lawful permanent resident of the United States by obtaining what is often referred to as a “Green Card.” To do so, you need to sponsor your relative and be able to prove that you have enough income or assets to support your relative(s) when they come to the United States.
If eventually granted a green card, the parents must be a permanent resident for five years before they can apply for naturalization or be a permanent resident for at least 3 years and married to a US citizen (who is not your descendant). Source
A common (derogatory) term for this is "Anchor Baby".
Unfortunately yes. My daughter did not have the choice and became a citizen of this country. Now 30 years later she has lots of problems because of that citizenship. There is an association called Accidental Americans working for those citizens who do not want being citizens of the US. Check out the wiki page for Accidental Americans. Repudiating this citizenship is not easy and quite expensive.
That all those born in the US having citizenship being a constitutional right is generally based on the Fourteenth Amendment, which says "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States." There is some debate as to what exactly the "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" qualification means. It has been interpreted as not granting citizenship to the children of parents who have diplomatic immunity, and there are some of the position that it also requires the parents' presence in the US to be legal, and/or open and notorious, but that view has little support in the legal community. There is also the issue of what counts as "the United States". While people in America Samoa are US nationals, courts have denied them citizenship. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Samoan_citizenship_and_nationality#Federal_citizenship_controversy_(1960%E2%80%93present)
There are indeed people who travel to the US late in their pregnancy specifically to give birth in the US and thus have their children be US citizens. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birth_tourism . There is also the term "anchor baby", which is generally used in a derogatory manner to refer to children of immigrants who were born in the US (though not necessarily implying that the parents immigrated for the purpose of having the child in the US).
IANAL, and this has already been well answered legally, but I wanted to give a personal example for historical context.
My aunt's parents emigrated to the U.S. from Italy in 1934, having delivered their oldest son on the ship while crossing the Atlantic from Italy, and my aunt was born a year later (1935) in New Castle PA. Her older brother was thus not born in the U.S. and had to apply for citizenship years later. My aunt, on the other hand, was a citizen by birth, even though her parents had not yet become citizens themselves and never had to apply for it.
My point being that this is nothing new or special in America, it has been going on for hundreds of years and has applied to many hundreds of thousands of citizens, new-born to parents who were not citizens.
It seems worth mentioning that birthright citizenship in the United States is part of the aftermath of the Civil War of 1861–1865. Part of the outcome of the war was the abolition of slavery. Earlier the Supreme Court had ruled in the case of Scott v. Sandford that negroes are not citizens, regardless of whether they are enslaved or not. Everything about the status of persons of African descent was a big issue in the aftermath of the war. Before that, different states had different laws about who was a citizen, although there were also federal naturalization laws. The 14th Amendment was intended to supersede much of that.