His, mostly debunked, stand on immigrants and loud support of unsubstantiated “stats” is frightening. I know he is attacking immigrants from Mexico, for now, but he doesn’t seem to discern documented and undocumented immigrants in his onslaught. Several Republicans have been using the term “anchor baby” in attacking each other and voters concerning immigration reform. I hadn’t really heard the term and I was born to a married couple; a US citizen and a green card documented immigrant. I needed to find out the root of the term because I actually didn’t know if my brother and I are anchor babies.
The term was coined in the 1980s to describe Southeast Asian teens who came to America to get a financial foothold and sponsor family members to come over. As it morphed into that foothold being established by the citizenship granted babies born in this country, regardless of their parents’ nationality, it became thought of as a child citizen who could anchor the parents into the country. That, by the way, is false. A child born in this country is American but may sponsor their parents to enter the country after they are 21. There is no guarantee that the parents can legally remain because they have a child that was born here. The term came to prominence again in 2006 as congressional Republicans used it in a derogatory way to pass legislation to prevent illegal immigration from Mexico.
The thing is it’s always been a derogatory term. It’s just like terms I remember hearing as a kid that were “just sayings.” But to a kid whose great-grandparents were born in Poland, I knew “dumb pollack” was meant as something mean to the people who said it and meant it as an ugly stereotype; it wasn’t just a saying. Anchor baby became used retroactively to describe any child born in the US that the person using the term deemed to be only born here to keep alien parents in the country. It was never an actual term to describe someone’s status, but a term used with disdain to describe anyone based on assumption. As a term that means a baby born to an immigrant mother, or one who is not legitimately here, calling someone an anchor baby is the same as calling someone a bastard; it’s the accusation that they come from illegitimate parentage. It’s pretty sad that we allow people who claim they want to lead us throw that term around so casually.
Oh, and as far as whether or not my brother and I are anchor babies, we’re not. If my dad had been the US citizen and mom had been the one with the green card it could be different. Women getting married to a US citizen and making babies to anchor themselves in the country is an acceptable suspicion but notsomuch for men. You see “anchor baby” is not just rooted in racism, but it’s rooted in sexism too. There are no anchor babies; you don’t choose where you are born. If you are an American, you are an American and deserve all the rights of an American citizen.