Jeb under fire for linking 'anchor babies' to Asians |

26th Aug 2015

Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, talks to reporters following a town hall campaign stop, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, in Keene, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

AP Photo

8/25/15 9:10 AM EDT

Updated 8/25/15 12:15 PM EDT

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is coming under increased fire for his comments that so-called “anchor babies” are more commonly tied to Asians.

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, is slamming Bush’s remarks referring to “anchor babies,” likening them in a statement to be released later Tuesday to xenophobia.

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“No matter which ethnic group you’re referring to, ‘anchor babies’ is a slur that stigmatizes children from birth,” Chu said. “The problem with our immigration system is not birthright citizenship. The problem is a broken immigration system that forces families to live apart or live in fear.”

She added: “All that is accomplished through talk of anchor babies — be they from Latin America, Asia, Europe, or Africa — is to use xenophobia to further isolate immigrants.”

Democrats have battered Bush for his use of the term “anchor babies,” which has ignited a fierce debate in the GOP primary field about birthright citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants.

Bush defended his use of the term Monday, appearing to refer to a relatively rare “birth tourism” phenomenon in which wealthy foreign women give birth on American soil so the child can obtain automatic U.S. citizenship.

“What I was talking about was the specific case of fraud being committed where there’s organized efforts — frankly it’s more related to Asian people coming into our country, having children in that organized effort, taking advantage of a noble concept, which is birthright citizenship,” Bush said, according to Reuters.

Despite the explanation, Democrats haven’t let up on Bush. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), whose wife is of Chinese descent, released a statement late Monday night in which he called the Republican presidential candidate’s remarks “derogatory and offensive.”

“He should immediately retract his statements and apologize to the Asian community for his insensitive behavior,” Schatz said.

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