Jeb Bush may be right about 'anchor babies'

politics | Aug 25, 2015 | By Martin Barillas

A great deal of ink (and electrons) have been spilt over comment made by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his comments on August 24 about the phenomenon called "anchor babies." Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush created a firestorm of criticism among Democrats and immigration advocates last week over his use of what some see as an indelicate epithet. Speaking on a radio show, Bush criticized current immigration policy and said that what the United States needs is "better enforcement so that you don't have these, you know, 'anchor babies,' as they're described, coming into the country."

Bush was asked on August 24 during a visit along the border between the United States and Mexico whether his use of the term “anchor baby” might diminish his charm among Hispanic voters. Human rights advocates see the use of the term as a slur to describe babies born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants. Due to the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution – which was passed in the wake of the Civil War to ensure citizenship to former slaves – these babes then automatically acquire American citizenship, and thus the right to petition for their parents’ ultimate legal immigrant status. Hispanics largely pull the lever for Democrats, as demonstrated by the last two presidential elections, but Bush has pressed on with his smile campaign to win their support. Bush took umbrage, saying that the term has more to do with Asians than Hispanic Americans. 
 
Speaking in Texas, Bush said "What I was talking about was the specific case of fraud being committed where there's organized efforts -- and frankly it's more related to Asian people coming into our country, having children in that organized effort, taking advantage of a noble concept with birthright citizenship." Bush is a fluent speaker of Spanish and is married to a former Mexican national. As governor of Florida, he was not only popular with Hispanic voters but also won acclaim as an effective administrator. "My background, my life, the fact that I'm immersed in the immigrant experience -- this is ludicrous for the Clinton campaign and others to suggest that somehow I'm using a derogatory term.” Moreover, said Bush, "I support the 14th Amendment," he said of the constitutional guarantee of citizenship to anyone born in the country.
 
Other Republican presidential candidates, notably Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have issued calls for a revisiting of birthright citizenship. For example, Trump said on August 21 that the practice actually increases illegal immigration. He said that 300,000 children were born in 2014 to undocumented aliens. According to the Pew Research Center, this is decline from the numbers registered in 2008, which was about 340,000. Pew also noted that Asians make up the largest share of recent immigrants at 36 percent of the total, as opposed to those of Hispanic origin.
 
The phenomenon of women seeking to find love in the United States and the prospect of giving birth to an American citizen is so well known in China that it is the subject of a romantic comedy film. Entitled "Finding Mr. Right," the film was seen in theatres and television. 
 
 
Bolstering Bush’s argument about Asians, it should be noted that in March 2015, dozens of so-called “maternity tourism” locations were raided in the Los Angeles area. It was these organized criminal organizations that were providing services to women from China seeking birthright American citizenship for their children. Some of the expectant mothers were paying more than $50,000 for the privilege of seeing their children win the Red-White-and-Blue, according to U.S. immigration authorities. The fees that the women pay do not necessarily include medical care, according to authorities. Many of these women are said to be the wives of wealthy Chinese. Chinese media suggest that the fathers of the children are corrupt officials seeking an escape from harsh Chinese laws, which has included death penalties for things such as alleged adulteration of baby food.
 
Federal law enforcement is examining evidence bringing in and harboring of undocumented aliens, as well as: conspiracy, fraud and misuse of visas and permits; tax evasion and false tax returns; and willful failure to file report of foreign bank and financial accounts, according to papers filed in a Federal court in California. "Based on the results of the investigations to date, it appears the women pay cash for prenatal visits and the actual delivery," declared the Feds. "As part of the package, clients were promised they would receive Social Security numbers and U.S. passports for their infants, which the mothers would take with them when they left the U.S."
 
Embattled Democratic contender Hillary Clinton chimed in laconically via Twitter: "They're called babies"


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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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