Jeb Bush is standing by his use of the term “anchor babies” to describe children born in the U.S. to immigrants in the country illegally, the latest turn in the debate over immigration that’s at the forefront on the campaign trail this summer.
During a radio interview earlier this week, Bush used the phrase, drawing ire by many who view it as derogatory. While campaigning in New Hampshire on Thursday, the Republican presidential hopeful was asked whether he regretted saying it.
“I don’t,” Bush said. “Do you have a better term? You give me a better term and I’ll use it.”
Meanwhile, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio does not like the term and is not at all afraid to let the rest of the 2016 GOP Presidential field that using the term is a losing strategy when looking at the general election.
Rubio chose not to use “anchor babies” in a television interview with CNBC host John Harwood and published online Thursday, instead calling children born in the United States to parents who did not enter legally “human beings.”
“When I talk about 13 million people in this country [illegally], I say 13 million human beings,” Rubio said. “Anchor babies — people are talking about anchor babies,” interjected Harwood, referring to the term Jeb Bush, Donald Trump and others GOP candidates have used to describe parents who may have come to the United States illegally to give birth here to children who are then automatically granted citizenship under the law. Some find the term offensive.
“Well, these are 13 million — those are human beings. And ultimately, they are people. They are not just statistics. They are human beings with stories,” responded Rubio.
Rubio, who does not agree with Trump’s call to repeal the constitutional provision granting birthright citizenship, did say that the idea of “people coming to this country expressly for the purpose of having children” is a “legitimate issue” in the debate over immigration.