Of all the retailers to find themselves in a heated debate about immigration, Toys R Us is one of the more unlikely ones. But the toy retailer is under some criticism concerning how it handled a newborn's situation in a New Year's contest. Toys R Us offers a $25,000 scholarship towards college education for a baby born in the new year. The NY Times reports that three babies were tied for being the first baby: One from Bay Shore, NY, one from Gainesville, Georgia, and one from NYC's Downtown Hospital, Yuki Lin.

2007_01_chnye.jpgBaby Jayden Swain of Gainesville ended up winning the drawing, but Toys R Us disqualified baby Yuki (pictured, with her parents and delivery team) from the drawing because her parents, two 22 year old Chinese restaurant workers, are not legal residents - even though Yuki herself is an American citizen!

While the contest's fine print says the mother needs to be a legal resident, this has brought out some critics. The president of the Asian American Business Development John Wang says, "The schools accept children whose parents are illegal aliens in this country, so why is Toys ‘R’ Us taking this kind of position? They’re supported by many people, whether they’re legal or illegal, shopping in their stores, and they’re injecting themselves into this debate.” More from the Times:

Leo Y. Lee, 49, an engineer who is past national vice president of the Organization of Chinese Americans, an advocacy organization, pointed out that the savings bond was awarded in the name of the baby, not the mother, and that there was no legal requirement for a rule barring the American-born child of an illegal immigrant.

“I am strongly opposed to the Toys ‘R’ Us decision to give the award to another baby just based solely on the mother’s status,” he said. His group, he said, does not “condone or approve illegal immigration, but anyone who is here should be protected by law — especially a baby with the same rights as any other citizen.”

But comments by Ms. Keller, the grandmother of the winning baby, hinted at the wrath that the company risked from the other side at a time when the most stringent critics of illegal immigration have called for an end to birthright citizenship, saying the children born to illegal immigrants are “anchor babies” who encourage illegal entry.

“If she’s an illegal alien, that makes the baby illegal,” said Ms. Keller, 50. Told otherwise, she remarked, “Sounds like a double standard to me,” adding, “She was disqualified — that should be it. Don’t go changing your mind now.”

Dear lord... Sure, who knows if baby Yuki would have won the drawing if she was still eligible, but it seems like Toys R Us dropped the ball on this one, PR-wise (and they just opened a big store in Shangahi!). It's complicated and dicey.

What do you think? Remember when the Times Square Toys R Us was in a kerfuffle with breast feeding moms? And NYC's Downtown Hospital delivers more babies than most city hospitals.