Update: August 27, 9:02 am

Jeb Bush has also drawn criticism for using the racist "anchor babies" slur against Asian immigrants from an unlikely source: none other than Donald Trump himself.

POLITICO's immigration reporter, Seung Min Kim, in her article Immigration experts: Jeb Bush had a point on 'anchor babies (August 26) quotes The Donald as saying this about his rival for the Republican Presidential nomination:

"In a clumsy move to get out of his 'anchor babies' dilemma, where he [Jeb Bush] signed that he would not use the term and now uses it, he blamed ASIANS...Asians are very offended that JEB said that anchor babies applies to them as a way to be more politically correct to Hispanics. A mess!"


Apparently the Republican party is offering the voters a choice for 2016 between two leading presidential candidates - one who is running on anti-Latino hate and another who is trying to exploit anti-Asian bigotry. One also has to wonder what kind of "immigration experts" could possibly support using the highly offensive and derogatory "anchor babies" term about anyone.

Trump has also been quoted as having praised DREAMER's and boasted about hiring unlawful immigrants to work for him as recently as two years ago. See:


Update: August 26, 10:20 am:

The Latino Victory Project has issued a statement strongly condemning Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush for his use of bigoted term "anchor babies" to refer to the US citizen children of unauthorized Mexican and other Latino immigrants, as well as his "derisive" comments about Asian women who travel to the US with legal visas in order to give birth to their children in this country so that they can be American citizens.



My original post follows:

Some of the leading Republican presidential candidates are trying themselves up in knots trying to make campaign bigotry over birthright citizenship square with the provision of the 14th Amendment stating that all children born in the US and subject to its "jurisdiction" (i.e. laws, as will be explained in my upcoming post regarding the Supreme Court case of Plyler v. Doe (1982)) are citizens of the United States by birth.

First, there is Jeb Bush. Bush, evidently afraid of being labeled as an anti-Hispanic bigot for opposing birthright citizenship, has now made clear that he is not bigoted against Latino immigrants, but only against Asian ones.

The Huffington Post reports on August 24:

"GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush claimed on Monday that his use of the term 'anchor babies' was not offensive because he was referring to the practice of people, primarily Asians, coming to the U.S. and 'taking advantage' of birthright citizenship."

Bush used the term last week in an interview with conservative radio host Bill Bennett in reference to 'birth tourism', which is the growing phenomenon of Chinese women paying agencies to bring them to the U.S. to have their babies so that they can grow up as American citizens."

Governor Bush, evidently, needs to study up a bit on the history of the Chinese exclusion laws, which provided that no Chinese immigrant could become a naturalized US citizen. He might also wish to ask one of his advisors to tell him about the Supreme Court's 1898 decision in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, in which the US government argued that a child born in the US to Chinese parents who were barred by law from becoming US citizens themselves (even though legally residing in the US) was not a citizen by birth.

The Supreme Court rejected the US government's argument and ruled that the 14th Amendment meant what it says, and that its guarantee of birthright citizenship applied to all children born in the US.

It remains to be seen if Bush's attempt to substitute late 19th century anti-Asian bigotry in place of 21st century anti-Latino bigotry will help clarify his position on birthright citizenship. See:


Meanwhile, Donald Trump, ignorant and bombastic as ever, says that he doesn't think that children born in the US to unlawful immigrant parents are US citizens, and that some "very, very good lawyers" agree with him. He didn't name the lawyers, possibly out of an uncharacteristic scruple about potential damage to their reputations.

One has to ask whether any lawyer who talks about 14th Amendment birthright citizenship without having read Wong Kim Ark and Plyler v. Doe, as Trump's above mentioned lawyers obviously have not, or they could never agree with Donald Trump's above statement, deserves to be called a good lawyer, or even a competent one. See:


Perhaps Ted Cruz, another Republican presidential candidate, who also now opposes birthright citizenship, is in the most difficult position of all. As a Harvard Law School graduate, he would be seriously embarrassed if he came right out and said that birthright citizenship for all children born in the US, regardless of parents' status or citizenship is not guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

Cruz knows that this is not true, and said so in a 2011 interview, as reported by the Huffington Post. See:

Ted Cruz Once Said It Was A 'Mistake' To Try to End Birthright Citizenship (August 20)


According to the Huffpost story, Cruz said the following at the 2011 interview about birthright US citizenship for all US-born children:

"I've looked at the legal arguments against it, and i will tell you as a Supreme Court litigator, those arguments are not very good...As much as someone dislikes the policy of birthright citizenship, it's in the U.S. Constitution."

Indeed it is, Senator. It was in the US Constitution in 1868, when the 14th Amendment was adopted. It was in the U.S. Constitution in 1898, when Wong Kim Ark was decided. It was in the Constitution when Plyler v Doe was decided in 1982. And it is still in the Constitution now.

That is the dilemma for anti-birthright citizenship 2016 Republican presidential candidates - whether to follow the Constitution of the country they are hoping to lead, or whether to disregard the Constitution in an effort to pander to bigoted voters in their party's base.
Roger Algase is a New York lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas, green cards, and US citizenship for more than 30 years. His email address is algaselex@gmail.com