Origin of anchor baby
Words nearby anchor baby
ABOUT THIS WORD
What does anchor baby mean?
An anchor baby is an offensive slang term for a child intentionally born in the United States from a foreign mother so the child receives U.S. citizenship, and so the family can get residency.
Where does anchor baby come from?
The term anchor baby was first recorded in the 1990s. Slightly older is the related term anchor child, used to describe adolescents fleeing conflict or economic hardship in countries such as Vietnam or China. The idea was that these children would serve as a metaphorical anchor in the U.S. for a family that would one day emigrate to the states when the anchor child had earned enough money to sponsor them.
The term anchor baby (for a foreign baby born in the US) spread in the 2000s during debates in Congress regarding immigration reform. Due to the U.S. birthright citizenship under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, any baby born on U.S. soil (either a state or territory) is automatically granted U.S. citizenship. The idea behind an anchor baby, then, is that if a parent has a child who is a U.S. citizen, it will be harder for that parent to be deported.
Anchor baby came to prominence during the 2016 Republican presidential primary, when Republican candidate Jeb Bush got in hot water over saying that the issue of anchor babies is “more related to Asian people.” Many expressed concern over Bush’s remarks, including Christine Chen, then executive director of the Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote, who worried that the comments might disparage the entire Asian-American population as being anchor babies.
While there aren’t exact numbers regarding the number of babies born in the U.S. to foreign parents, there is evidence that it’s happening to some degree. Los Angeles has become the home of what is now a multi-billion dollar industry known as “maternity tourism” or “birth tourism” among some Chinese, Russian, and Nigerian families. The practice of traveling to the U.S. to give birth is technically legal, however, and U.S. officials have been cracking down on it in indirect ways, such as going after such “birth tourism” companies for things such as tax fraud or denying visas.
How is anchor baby used in real life?
Especially because the term anchor baby is used to target and disparage specific ethnicities, such as East Asians, the term is considered demeaning and xenophobic.
The term often appears in the context of debates about immigration and immigration policy in the U.S.
This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.
How to use anchor baby in a sentence
Have a kid here –what some pejoratively refer to as an “anchor baby” – and it is tougher to be deported.The Progressive Case Against Birthright Citizenship|Keli Goff|December 15, 2014|DAILY BEAST
So Cruz had it whether he wanted it or not—and he could, in fact, have been considered a Canadian anchor baby.Ted Cruz’s Canadian Panic|Michelle Cottle|December 31, 2013|DAILY BEAST
The recall may be the only way to stop the "anchor baby" bill; passage of the legislation is likely a slam dunk.Payback for Arizona's Immigrants|Terry Greene Sterling|February 2, 2011|DAILY BEAST
Anchor baby n. an American-born child of illegal immigrants.The 2010 Political Dictionary from A to Z|Samuel P. Jacobs|December 12, 2010|DAILY BEAST