As a Trumpified Jeb Bush doubles down on his use of the derogatory “anchor baby” — saying he doesn’t find the term offensive — WaPo reports that a whole lot of others probably feel differently about that, considering “8.4% of the resident adult population of the US in 2012 was the child of a person born outside the country.”
NBC’s Suzanne Gamboa digs deeper into the numbers:
“In 2012, there were 35.7 million U.S. born children of immigrant parents, what demographers refer to as second-generation Americans, according to Pew Research Center. Of those, 16.3 million were Hispanic and and 57 percent of the Hispanics were under 18.”
“In 2012, 4.5 million U.S.-born children under 18 lived with at least one undocumented parent,” added the Washington Post.
These kids hear what Republicans like Bush and Trump say about their parents, and they are a part of the 50,000 Latinos who become eligible to vote every single month.
Jeb is just latest in a line of Republican candidates to mimic the anti-immigrant demagoguery of Trump. Huffington Post reported that now seven Republican candidates are open to ending birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants. And, four of those candidates — Trump, Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz, and Rick Santorum — have at least one immigrant parent themselves.
But now those four children of immigrants — citing birthright citizenship as a “magnet” for undocumented families — want to end citizenship for other children of immigrants.
As attorney Raul Reyes said in an op-ed today, “the idea of an ‘anchor baby’ is centered, in part, on the assumption that having an American-born child can protect undocumented people from deportation. The child, this line of thought goes, ‘anchors’ a family in the United States and allows them to gain citizenship.”
But, in his new piece, former President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, David Leopold, debunks the theory:
Trump claims that birthright citizenship must end because it’s the “biggest magnet for illegal immigration”— it attracts illegal immigrants using their “anchor babies” to reap the benefits of U.S. citizenship. In fact, being the undocumented parent of a U.S. citizen bestows no legal right to even be in the country, let alone to a green card or citizenship—just ask the thousands of undocumented parents deported and barred from the U.S. each day by the Department of Homeland Security. The law requires that to sponsor an undocumented parent for a green card a child must first reach the age of 21. But at that point—more than two decades after arrival—an undocumented parent who entered illegally is not eligible to apply for a green card in the U.S. The parent must leave and apply abroad. And once the parent departs the U.S., another part of the law bans his or her return for 10 years.
The “magnet” to which Trump refers is an arduous 31-year-long slog to legal status for the undocumented parent: 21 years for the child to be able to sponsor the parent and 10 years of banishment from the U.S. because of their previously unlawful presence. Perhaps that’s why Trump and others who oppose birthright citizenship have failed to produce any evidence of hordes of pregnant women streaming across the border illegally (or even legally) to give birth. There’s no evidence that this is a widespread phenomenon—for instance, less than 2 percent of Arizona babies were born to nonresident mothers in 2010.
But, if Republican leaders won’t believe legal experts, they should ask the four U.S. citizen children of Iowa Pastor Max Villatoro. Despite a community effort that eventually got national attention, Pastor Max was deported to Honduras in March after living in the United States for 20 years.
In fact, having a citizen child is no protection from possible deportation. In the first six months of 2011, for example, parents with U.S.-citizen children constituted 22% of deportees. Between 2010 and 2012, the United States deported nearly 205,000 parents of citizen kids. And in 2013, more than 72,000 were deported, according to The Huffington Post.
Sadly, 5,100 U.S. citizen children are living in foster care due to deportation of their parents. And, according to a report from Colorlines, another 15,000 American citizen children will face a similar fate within the next five years if Congress continues stalling on passing any humane relief for families.