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GOP Presidential Candidates Donald Trump, Jeb Bush Stir 'Anchor Baby' Controversy

First Posted: Aug 20, 2015 02:16 PM EDT

Democrats are hitting back at two prominent Republican presidential candidates for using the term "anchor babies," to describe U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants.

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, former Florida governor, used the term "anchor baby," a term often considered as derogatory toward immigrants and their U.S.-born children. Bush used the term during a conservative radio interview for Bill Bennett's "Morning in America" program.

Bush first referenced his stance on birthright citizenship, a 14th Amendment provision that automatically grants U.S. citizenship to children born in the country and its jurisdictions. Fellow Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for the end of birthright citizenship, but it is a call Bush disapproved.

"If there's abuse, if people are bringing -- pregnant women are coming in to have babies simply because they can do it, then there ought to be greater enforcement," Bush said on Wednesday. "That's [the] legitimate side of this. Better enforcement so that you don't have these, you know, 'anchor babies,' as they're described, coming into the country."

Trump has also used the term "anchor babies" during media appearances.

First on Tuesday during a broadcast of Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," Trump said, "I don't think they have American citizenship and if you speak to some very, very good lawyers -- and I know some will disagree, but many of them agree with me -- and you're going to find they do not have American citizenship. We have to start a process where we take back our country. Our country is going to hell."

Trump admitted that amending the 14th Amendment "would take too long" to process, and he has recommended a clarification on the birthright citizenship provision.

On Wednesday evening, Trump, ahead of his first town hall event in New Hampshire, was confronted by a reporter about using the term "anchor baby." Trump defended the term and had no intention of using different phrases.

Trump added, "You mean it's not politically correct, and yet everybody uses it? ... I'll use the word 'anchor baby.'"

Must Read: Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Linda Sanchez: 'Anchor Baby' Remarks Are 'Personal Attacks' 

The Democratic National Committee's (DNC) Hispanic Media Director Pablo Manriquez hit back the Republican candidates. Following Bush's remarks, Manriquez said people could have easily mistaken the former Florida governor for the real estate businessman for using the "anchor baby" comment.

"Calling the children of undocumented immigrants 'anchor babies' makes Bush no better than Trump or the rest of the Republicans running for President. Bush opposes a full and equal path to citizenship, wants to cement second-class status for undocumented Americans, and now is ranting about 'anchor babies,'' said Manriquez.

"¡Qué sin vergüenza!" Manriquez added in a statement, calling the candidates "shamless."

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was quick to release an advertisement showing Bush and Trump's comments. Titled "Jeb Bush and Donald Trump Anchor Baby Insult," the short video aired the English-language remarks but was subtitled in Spanish. The ad started with Trump stating he's preference to using "anchor baby" than "undocumented." The video then played Bush's audio from Bennett's radio show.

"Who's the 'reasonable one' again?" the campaign ad questioned.

Clinton, however, has faced criticism for maintaining her position to deport undocumented immigrants. While calling for improvements in immigration detention centers, the former secretary of state said the deportations should continue if the detained immigrant does not provide valid and eligible reasons to stay in the U.S. or a family to stay with while awaiting their due process in immigration court.

Must Read: Hillary Clinton Still Supports Deportation of Undocumented Immigrant Children 


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