Jeb Bush on 'Anchor Babies': ‘Give Me the Name You Want Me to Use and I’ll Use It’

By Melanie Arter | August 25, 2015 | 10:40am EDT
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (AP Photo)

( – During a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border in McAllen, Texas, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called it “ludicrous” that some say it is derogatory for him to use the term “anchor babies” in describing an organized effort to bring pregnant women to the U.S. so that they can give birth in the country and their children will become U.S. citizens.

“Do you worry that using the term anchor babies could affect your ability to win the Hispanic vote?” a female reporter asked Bush.


“No, as I said in Spanish, my background, my life, the fact that I’ve been immersed in the immigrant experience, this is ludicrous for the Clinton campaign and others to suggest that somehow I’m using a derogatory term,” said Bush.

“What I was talking about was the specific case of fraud being committed where there’s organized efforts – and frankly, it’s more related to Asian people coming into our country, having children and that organized efforts, taking advantage of a noble concept, which is birthright citizenship,” he said. “I support the 14th Amendment.

“Nothing about what I’ve said should be viewed as derogatory towards immigrants at all. This is all how politics plays, and by the way, I think we need to take a step back and chill out a little bit as it relates to the political correctness that somehow you have to be scolded every time you say anything. It’s not fair to be taken out of context. That’s the nature of politics, but I just don’t think that this is appropriate,” Bush added.

“Do you feel like you will actually stick to using that term anchor baby?” another reporter asked.

“I just said that I was focusing on a specific, targeted kind of case where people are organizing to bring pregnant women into the country, where they’re having children for their children to become citizens. That’s fraud, and that’s what we need to do. We need to enforce the law,” Bush said.

“We need to create a more secure border – not just at the border, but across the spectrum – I mean there are 40 percent of the people that come here, that are here illegally today came here with a legal visa. Enforcing the immigration laws of our country needs to be a high priority, and once you—how you do it? You put more resources—” Bush added.

“How will you refer to this issue of—” the reporter asked.

“You give me the name,” Bush said. “You know this is so ridiculous. Give me the name you want me to use, and I’ll use it.”

“Fraud,” the reporter replied.

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