Blog: ‘Anchor Babies,’ a Slur That Only Further Dehumanizes Immigrants

Remember when Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush self-identified as Hispanic on a voter registration form?

As someone who “believes” to be of the Latin race because he is married to Columba Bush, a Mexican-American woman and has spent two years living in Venezuela, the Republican candidate has done little to help Latinos.

Recently, he raised controversy by defending the term “anchor babies,” telling a reporter during a town hall in New Hampshire, “You give me a better term and I’ll use it. I’m serious.”

The definition of “anchor babies” refers to children born to an undocumented parents. The term implies the only reason for the child’s birth is to secure citizenship in the United States.

The slur, although used previously in political history, has been brought to the 2016 presidential campaign by Donald Trump, who has proudly showcased his racist, sexist and homophobic points of views. Various other Republican candidates vying for the oval office have recently used the term as well.

Jose Antonio Vargas, an award-winning journalist and founder of Define American, said during an interview with CNN, “It’s about being ‘morally decent’ and not about being ‘politically correct.’”

These are kids, daughters, sons to people who risked their lives and left behind their homelands for the “American Dream.”

People who stand behind the demeaning word obviously do not know that in order for the parents to gain citizenship they have to wait until the child is 21 – buteven then, it’s not guaranteed they will become “legal Americans.”

“But those citizen kids cannot petition for the entry of their parents until they are 21,” said Princeton sociologist Douglas Massey, who studies Mexican immigration to the U.S. “If the parent is here illegally, they are barred from applying until 10 years after they are eligible. So it’s not like they were sitting around in Mexico planning to have a baby in the states so 31 years later, they could apply for residency.”

Last year 22 percent of deportees were parents and families of U.S. citizens, according to a USA TODAY article published April 5, 2012.

For example, Orange is the New Black actress Diane Guerrero is a child of undocumented immigrants who were deported back to Colombia when she was 14. Since then, she travels to the South American country once a year to see her parents, as reported in The Washington Post.

Another point to clarify — undocumented immigrants are not all Latino. The majority of undocumented immigrants are East Asian, according to census data cited in a Huffington Post article published June 15, 2013. Europeans, Africans and persons of other ethnicities also choose the U.S. as a place to start a new life.

Stop demonizing Latinos, stop using them as scapegoats and stop thinking all of them are uneducated and savage.

Instead of wasting millions of dollars to “secure the border,” it should be used to create a better legal immigration process. It should be used to aid those 11 million undocumented immigrants and make them “legal” Americans, since every year they pay $12 billion in taxes, according to a Fox News Latino article published April 22.

Let’s talk about feminism for a second.

Where are all the feminists and their outcry over this term? White feminism is a thing and it’s seen clearly in this issue over the slur.

Millions of women who are undocumented are going to be petrified of going to hospitals and giving birth, endangering both themselves and the child.

If all of those who are born in the U.S. but have undocumented parents are going to be denied their citizenship, it’s going to create a whole class of stateless children/teens/adults. They aren’t going to be able to receive a high education and will be unable to bring fruit to their parent’s sacrifices.

Some politicians, or even the public, claim to be “exhausted” of being corrected on terms such as “illegal,” “redskins” and “anchor babies.” But the people who are labeled these terms have to suffer through racism, discrimination, pain and fear over them.

Does it really compare?

If you have to be corrected again and again because you are using slurs in reference to a human being, so be it.

I believe this is the year of the immigrant.

This year, their voices WILL be heard and cause the world to know they have arrived, and will no longer be silent.

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Wikipedia.

headshotKarla Casique is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at

Leave a Reply

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: