anchor baby

[ang-ker bey-bee]

What does anchor baby mean?


An anchor baby is a child who was purposefully brought while in the womb to the United States by a foreigner so that they would receive US citizenship upon their birth. It is widely considered to be an offensive term to immigrants, especially Asian-Americans.

Examples of anchor baby


Examples of anchor baby
I’m a Retired Army Ranger who fought in 2 wars & was deployed multiple times to Iraq & Afghanistan & I stand with #TheResistance / Both my parent came to the US illegally but my #AnchorBaby ass is way more patriotic than #ComradeBoneSpurs & his pu$$y ass sons.
@ProudAnchorBaby, August, 2018
The dire consequences of Congress’ winking at anchor baby citizenship grow graver daily. According to the Congressional Budget Office, and based on data compiled from the Department of Homeland Security and other immigration offices, it estimates that about 4.5 million U.S. citizens, anchor babies, under the age of 18 have at least one inadmissible or deportable parent.
, The Caledonian-Record, July, 2018

Where does anchor baby come from?

While the term anchor baby was in the spotlight in the run up to the 2016 US presidential election, it actually has its roots at least in the 1980s. Originally anchor children was 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 US for a family that would one day immigrate to the states when the anchor child had earned enough money to sponsor them.

The term didn’t resurface again until 2006, this time as anchor baby during debates in Congress regarding immigration reform. It was at this time that the term took on its contemporary meaning (a foreign baby birthed in the US). Due to the US birthright citizenship policy under the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, any baby born on US soil (either a state or territory) is automatically granted US citizenship. The idea behind an anchor baby is that if a parent has a child who is a US citizen, it will be harder for that parent to be deported.

While 2006 saw the birth of anchor baby, the term 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 concerned over Bush’s remarks, including Christine Chen, then executive director of the Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote, who worried that the comments might frame the entire Asian-American population as being anchor babies.

While there aren’t exact numbers regarding the number of babies born in the US 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 that largely caters to wealthy Chinese women. The practice of traveling to the US to give birth is technically legal, however, and US officials have been cracking down on it in indirect ways, such as going after maternity tourism companies for things such as tax fraud.

Who uses anchor baby?

There’s debate as to whether or not anchor baby is a derogatory term. Many, including Mary Giovagnoli, former director of the pro-immigration Immigration Policy Center, see the term as demeaning, while others, such as Bob Dane of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, believe efforts to characterize the term as offensive are just political correctness.

Anti-immigration activists may use anchor babies in protests and in xenophobic political discussion, however, underscoring the offensive power of the term.

The term has made its way into quite a number of political cartoons.

The Adventures of Bradley
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