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The Trump Effect has done some scary things to Republican Presidential candidates who appeared eager to embrace immigrants just a few years ago.
Case in point: Jeb Bush. The Republican has often been referred to as one of the GOP’s best hopes for Latino voters, embracing a path to citizenship in 2013, and last year famously saying that immigrants cross the border without papers as an “act of love“:
“Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s kind of — it’s a, it’s an act of love. It’s an act of commitment to your family.”
But that was before Bush announced his candidacy for the Presidency.
Gone is his support for citizenship for the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, replaced instead by legal status, which we know amounts to nothing more than second-class citizenship.
And, as Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant vitriol has skyrocketed him to the top of the Republican polls, Bush and other candidates disturbingly appear to be tagging along for the ride.
Just last week, during an appearance on a conservative radio show, Bush used the derogatory “anchor babies” when referring to the United States citizen children of undocumented immigrants.
Latino and immigrant groups pounced on the remarks, which came a day after Trump used the same term during a Fox News interview:
“Do you have a better term?” Bush asked a reporter who questioned whether he regreted calling Americans with undocumented parented “anchor babies.” “You give me a better term and I’ll use it.”
“Is that not bombastic?” a different reporter then asked.
“No, it isn’t,” Bush answered. “Give me another word.”
Critics responded with a slew of alternative words for Bush to use — “They’re called ‘babies,'” tweeted Hillary Clinton — but perhaps the most damning rebuke came from Jeb Bush himself, circa 2013.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) worked for years with a group that specifically told politicians not to use the term “anchor baby” because the offensive term would alienate Latino voters.
The Hispanic Leadership Network issued a memo in 2013, in the wake of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s abysmal performance among Latino voters, outlining “tonally sensitive messaging points” on immigration. The memo, titled “Suggested Messaging Dos and Don’ts of Immigration Reform,” aimed to offer alternatives to the “negative and harsh rhetoric that has hurt conservatives in the past.”
“Don’t use the term ‘anchor baby,’” one of the memo’s bullet points reads. Two months after the memo was released, Bush co-chaired HLN’s annual Miami Conference to promote his book and discuss Latino political engagement. He had served as the conference’s co-chairman the two years before as well.
And now today, Bush tripled-down on the term, saying that he didn’t actually mean it about Latinos, but about Asians instead (as if that makes it better):
Jeb says “chill out” with political correctness in re him saying ‘anchor baby.’ Exact same explanation Trump gives.
— evale72 (@evale72) August 24, 2015
Jeb Bush clarifies that when he said “anchor babies,” he meant Asians who come in and “take advantage” of birthright citizenship.
— Marina Fang (@thefanger) August 24, 2015
Reading these tweets, I could be following a Trump presser, but…it’s Bush.
— Holly! Shulman (@HollyShulman) August 24, 2015
Clearly, Bush needs another look at his own memo. Thanks to AV’s Juan Escalante for digging up below.
— ¡Juan Escalante! (@JuanSaaa) August 21, 2015