From Huffington Post:

“Anchor babies” isn’t a very endearing term, but in Arizona those are the words being used to tag children born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants. While not new, the term is increasingly part of the local vernacular because the primary authors of the nation’s toughest and most controversial immigration law are targeting these tots — the legal weights that anchor many undocumented aliens in the U.S. — for their next move.

Buoyed by recent public opinion polls suggesting they’re on the right track with illegal immigration, Arizona Republicans will likely introduce legislation this fall that would deny birth certificates to children born in Arizona — and thus American citizens according to the U.S. Constitution — to parents who are not legal U.S. citizens. The law largely is the brainchild of state Sen. Russell Pearce, a Republican whose suburban district, Mesa, is considered the conservative bastion of the Phoenix political scene. He is a leading architect of the Arizona law that sparked outrage throughout the country: Senate Bill 1070, which allows law enforcement officers to ask about someone’s immigration status during a traffic stop, detainment or arrest if reasonable suspicion exists — things like poor English skills, acting nervous or avoiding eye contact during a traffic stop


Shoot! Doesn’t everyone act nervous and avoid eye contract during a traffic stop? I know I sure do. If those behaviors are considered probable cause, then we are all in trouble.

“Anchor babies” is a highly offensive term. These kids have no control over their circumstances in life. And we certainly don’t know why their parents had them. To imply that any child comes in to this world solely to anchor one’s parents to the United States is simply wrong. Hopefully the term ‘anchor baby’ will soon become as politically RUDE as the term ‘pickaninny’ which was used fairly freely when I was a child.

Of course, this piece comes from Time Magazine, via Huffington Post: Arizona’s Next Immigration Target: Children of Illegals. 

Illegals? 🙄 Unacceptable. Grammatically incorrect. Time Magazine needs to step it up a bit in the politically correct department. Or if they don’t want to be politically correct, how about using adjectives as adjectives and not as nouns.

One might contrast Arizona and New Mexico. Notice the silence out of Governor Bill Richardson’s state?
There are no easy answers but while we search we need to remember to be polite. We need to remember that those ‘anchor babies’ are just little children. In many ways, they are the most vulnerable members of this debate. They fear for themselves and they fear for their siblings and they fear for their parents. For some reason, too many Americans feel that these children simply don’t have feelings. And that is just dead wrong!

Complete Article

49 Thoughts to “Anchors Away Baby”

  1. Starryflights

    It is unconstitutional to deny citizenship to individuals born in the United States, according to the 14th Amendment.

    It’s a sad day in this country when children who were born in the United States can be arrested and deported.

    The United States is rapidly becoming a military police state, and the citizens of this country are acquiesing to the erosion of their rights and freedoms.

  2. Second-Alamo

    Question, if a European tourist has a baby while here on vacation is the baby a US citizen? If not, then please explain to me the difference between an authorized visitor from another country versus a non-authorized (illegal) visitor from south of the border. Why is there a difference in the baby’s citizenship status? Both are technically here as visitors.

  3. Starryflights

    Second-Alamo :Question, if a European tourist has a baby while here on vacation is the baby a US citizen? If not, then please explain to me the difference between an authorized visitor from another country versus a non-authorized (illegal) visitor from south of the border. Why is there a difference in the baby’s citizenship status? Both are technically here as visitors.

    The baby would get US nationality. The tourist would get nothing. The baby could sponsor the tourist when he/she turns 21 and assuming that he/she is financially able to do so–and wants to.

  4. Second-Alamo

    Ok, so does that mean that the baby isn’t a citizen of the parent’s country? The baby is left in limbo? The question is about ‘citizenship’, and so I don’t know what part ‘nationality’ plays in all of this.

  5. Starryflights

    In your example, the baby is a US citizen by virtue of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. Whether the baby is a citizen of the parents’ home country or not depends on the laws of the home country.

  6. It depends on the home country’s citizenship laws also. In most cases, the parents would declare when they returned home.

  7. Starryflights

    Arizona legislators must learn to respect our country’s Constitution.

  8. Pat.Herve

    and depending on the laws of the home country, the baby could be a citizen of both countries.

  9. Is it not rather outrageous that a state feels it can challenge the US Constitution?

  10. Do any of these folks in the bottom picture look familiar? If I squint…….where are those cammies? Is that a palm tree?

  11. marinm

    I don’t object to someone calling me an anchor baby. I see it as a badge I wear proudly.

    This anchor baby by the way works in the defense industry, has trained federal agents on techniques and laws to find kid touchers, and I dutifully pay all my flippin’ taxes.

    I certainly appreciate and understand that the US has every right to secure its border, limit who may or may not come in and use force to protect that border. I agree with that.

  12. Marin, there are many children out there who are very hurt by that nomenclature. You are an adult. And keep finding those kid touchers. You have much to be proud of but I wouldn’t include that term.

    I agree that the United States has every right to secure its border. In fact, I believe it should. However, the United States, for all the noise many folks make about abortion, should treat its most vulnerable BORN children with respect. I don’t like citizen children being called names. I don’t understand the dichotomy.

  13. marinm

    A name only hurts you if you empower that party with the ability to hurt you. I’ve been called anything and everything out of the book growing up. I can live my life worrying and caring about it or I can live my life.

  14. Rick Bentley

    Somebody needs to invent a reasonable term if people don’t like this one.

    Something reasonable, not “special little person born to undocumented, but presumably wonderful, parents”.

  15. Rick Bentley

    Personally i don’t think it’s so offensive. They’re called “babies” in it, not “critters” or w***backs.

    I saw someone joke about someone being “just off the boat” on TV yesterday about an old Italian person. Is that offensive? or relatively descriptive.

    “Wetback” used to refer to water stains (real or imagined) from crossing rivers – was that one really so bad? Is it different from “just off the boat”?

    I see thousands of people around me “clearly living off thrift shop clothes from States between the Southern Border and here” – if I could say that in one word somehow would it be offensive?

  16. Just off the boat could refer to anyone from any country actually. Wetback is directed to a specific country and anyone else who looks or sounds like they are from that country. Big difference.

    I think citizen children might be appropriate. Anchor baby is meant to be offensive and meant to imply that the parents only had the child to link to the USA.

    And the bottom line is, it might not be offensive if I hadn’t heard it used so offensively around here. Sometimes people have a kid because they are pregnant. Sometimes they are pregnant because they had sex with their spouse. Why is their ‘union’ any different than anyone else’s union?

    Most of the people who come here to work are of child bearing age. There is a higher incidence of ‘birthin’ babies’ amongst that age group.

    It is also erroneous thinking to assume that a citizen child can bring over all his relatives when he turns 18. I know of naturalized citizens who were NOT allowed to bring their parents over. The person I am thinking of is a medical professional. Bringing everyone you know isn’t a given.

  17. marin, not everyone grows up like you. Different people have different levels of sensitivity. You are more the type of person, I am guessing, that has the attitude “that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Not every little kid is like that. Some children have been hurt badly by words and rhetoric. Others stick up their middle finger and move on.

  18. Rick Bentley

    “Citizen children”? Obvious problem with that is that includes the vast majority of children here.

    I don’t think that you should find a term itself offensive because of your perception of its use. That said, if i went around calling people “negro”, ‘colored, “oriental” etc. it wouldn’t go over well. Every minority group gets to pick their own preferred term. And if it has too many syllables, like “African-American”, expect people to generally not use it. “Black” has one syllable so it works, even though it is horribly inaccurate.

  19. Rick Bentley

    Speaking of terminology. This was an interesting column about how Democrats are deliberately dropping the “undocumented” misnomer – http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0610/Hardening_the_immigration_rhetoric.html

  20. Rick Bentley

    Bob Dane, communications director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, predicted the new frame would have limited impact once both sides are fully engaged on the issue.

    “They are scrambling to sugarcoat a breakfast cereal that nobody wants to eat,” Dane said.

  21. Well, kids probably would prefer they just be called kids.

    And why would we call native born kids anything. Anchor baby just reeks of stigma mainly because I have never heard it used other than derisively.

    And if you said colored or negro or oriental, I don’t think you would be offensive as much as those are just ‘dated’ words that aren’t ‘politically correct.’ I don’t use hypenated words unless there is a real reason to. I have had Indians laugh at me for saying Native American. They told me just white people say Native American. Go figure. I asked what I should say and they said Indian. I have never looked back.

    Not sure what you mean by quoting Dane. Perhaps I am just being obtuse.

  22. Wolverine

    The Arizona legislature cannot make a law with regard to US citizenship. Only Congress has the power to further define that section of the 14th Amendment, as stated clearly by Section 5 of the amendment itself.

    There does seem to be such a thing as “U.S. nationality.” All U.S. citizens have U.S. nationality; but not all persons with U.S. nationality are U.S. citizens. As I understand it, if you are born simply by chance in certain U.S. territorial possessions, e.g. Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, to foreign parents and have no further connection to that territory, .e.g. do not live there or have other direct associations, you are considered a U.S. national. You can get a U.S. passport, but the passport will state clearly that you are a U.S. national and not a U.S. citizen. 8 USC 1408.

  23. Interesting, Wolverine. I had never heard that. So why wouldn’t the national be taking on the country of origin of the parents?

    NM Gov Bill Richardson’s mother is Mexican, his father American. When she was pregnant with Bill, the father who worked in Mexico sent his wife to the United States to give birth. I am not exactly sure why. I am not even sure Gov. Richardson knows why.

  24. marinm


    And let’s not forget about state citizenship! That makes the water even murkier.

  25. Can you be a citizen of a state if you aren’t a citizen of the Country the state is inside?

    Rick, interesting article. I am not sure I find undocumented worker any different than illegal immigrant. But I won’t quibble over it. If you are working and don’t have the documents to allow you to work, aren’t you an undocumented worker?

    Not sure why the Republicans get to define it. Perhaps because the Democrats let them?

    I can make a real strong case for not saying ‘illegals.’ I can’t make a very strong case for why ‘undocumented workers,’ ‘illegal alien,’ (which offends kids real badly btw) or ‘illegal immigrant.’

  26. marinm


    Yup. Reference Amendment 14: Section 1.

    “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

    Think about the McDonnell felony rights squabble not too long ago. The Governor can at his choosing restore a felon to a citizen again.

    I don’t mind the word alien. Everyone here remembers the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, right? http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/Alien.html

    Granted Kentucky and Virginia came up with thier own Resolutions. 😉

    Anytime I think of my parents and them being called Aliens I think of them with Martian ears!

    1. bwhahahahah too funny, marin. At least you have a good sense of humor. Not everyone does. I don’t mine alien. it is a constitutional word. I don’t generally use it because of the hurt feelings. But I wouldn’t get upset if someone else did.

      I don’t think prisoners are stripped of citizenship. I think they lose some of their rights of citizenship, namely voting. You don’t have to be a citizen to carry a gun.

  27. marinm

    God bless any resident alien that wants to have guns…lots of them!

    Adams used the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 to try and deport as many Frenchies as he could. I think it’s funny that since the creation of this great nation we’ve both been wanting to bring people in and kick em out.

    God bless this country. That’s awesome!!

    Sides, the French should be forced to leave.

  28. Elena

    Let’s not forget one of the more popular venaculars to describe children from the darkside….”parasites”. When one loses their humanity enough to start dehumanizing children, you are in serious trouble in my mind.

  29. bubberella

    My sister was born in Germany when my dad was stationed there. When my sister reached voting age, she had to choose between German and American citizenship.

  30. bubberella

    Oh! and my Mom recieves a very modest pension for having had a German baby. Where’s the outrage?!

  31. Bubberella, I feel certain your Mom likes the idea.

    Elena, if we need to drag out old footage, one only has to go to our top tabs Our Beginnings to see you address that issue. There are many examples. In fact, someone sent me a new one today.

  32. RingDangDoo

    “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

    That llittle gem I bolded should not be glossed over. Its intent was to specifically exclude children of foreign nationals, who have no allegiance to the USA, from becoming citizens.

    Interesting read…


  33. Captain Idiot-Face

    Diplomats have babies in the US all the time, and hmmmm, no citizenship. Wonder how THAT works? Heck, we even have a President that’s not a……oh, wait, nevermind.

  34. kelly3406


    You made the exact point that I wanted to make. Clearly the parents are not subject to U.S. jurisdiction since they entered (or remain) illegally. So it is beyond me how the children are magically “subject to the jurisdiction” as soon as they are born.

  35. marinm


    Kelly, are they not subject to the jurisdiction if they violate a traffic law for example? Or, does a police officer simply let them go?

  36. Illegal immigrants are subject to our laws. Legal immigrants and visitors are also. If foreign visitors give birth while in the United States, those kids have an option of also becoming citizens.

    From what I have read, the jurisdiction wording was to deal with diplomatic immunity and also American Indians. American Indians were naturalized before 1924. There is a 60 year gap where Indians weren’t citizen unless they chose to be. Citizenship wasn’t automatic.

    So regardless of how we want it to be, the 14th amendment has the constraints of the times. A Constitutional Amendment could fix the problem, if those who find birth citizenship offensive want to go through the toils of Constitutional Amendment.

    I don’t care which way we go but we have to do it legally and not just because we will it to be a certain way.

  37. kelly3406

    “Jurisdiction” means more than just following laws — it refers to the allegiance and loyalty OF THE PARENTS. It is true that the original wording was to deal with diplomats and American Indians. Essentially the Supreme Court ruled that if the parents do not owe allegiance to the United States (e.g. diplomats), then birth in the U.S. does not automatically confer citizenship.

    A pretty good case can be made that illegal aliens do not profess allegiance to the United States (in fact, they thumb their noses at U.S. sovereignty), so the same principle should apply to their children, that is, no automatic citizenship should be granted.

    I would certainly be open to these children obtaining citizenship at age 18. Prior to taking the oath of citizenship however, their birth in the U.S. should not be sufficient to keep the parents in country.

    1. I don’t think it is successfully used to keep parents in the country.
      I think we have to go by intent of those who framed the amendment. It is sort of hard to argue with the concept of being born. I wouldn’t fight a constitutional amendment that changed things around to have other requirements, as long as those who were born here were grandfathered in.

      I just don’t like all this second guessing now to satisify one’s political preferences. Don’t like the rules, change the Constitution.

      As for the supposition that illegal aliens don’t profess allegiance to the United States? I think that is some serious broadbrushing. Most of their children have 2 countries (like most immigrant kids): The United States and the country of their parents’ origin.

      I just feel those are horribly prejudicial statements, Kelly. I think that is just part of the rhetoric going around and not based on personal experience or conversation. In fact, I have found just the opposite in my personal dealings.

  38. Starryflights

    marinm :@kelly3406
    Kelly, are they not subject to the jurisdiction if they violate a traffic law for example? Or, does a police officer simply let them go?

    Diplomats can be arrested but they cannot be prosecuted in an American courtroom. By the same token, if they are crime victims, they cannot give testimony in a US court. They are in the US on diplomatic visas and as such are not “subject to the jurisdiction therof” as described in the 14th Amendment.

  39. kelly3406


    Not sure why you find this to be so horribly prejudicial. Illegal aliens may express strong loyalty toward the U.S. in private, but the fact is that allegiance is based on public acts and statements. These people are in the United States illegally, so they start out by disrespecting our sovereignty and law. They have never taken any oath of allegiance or loyalty. They have not renounced their citizenship from their native countries. They generally do not serve in the U.S. military. When the economy is bad, many of them return to their homeland. So there is in fact no basis in most cases for establishing that illegal aliens have any loyalty whatsoever to the United States.

    1. kelly, do you honestly think most illegal immigrants intentionally are disrespectful of our laws? Permanent residents haven’t renounced their citizenship to their country of origin. Many of those folks spend their lives here and never go become citizens.

      I just dont think you can broad brush about how illegal aliens feel about the United States.

      Let’s put it another way, why do they come here? Why would they dislike the USA any more than someone who came legally? Most importantly, if the illegal aliens could come here legally, don’t you think they would?

      I don’t think any immigrants necessarily feel loyalty towards the USA. That probably isn’t the word I would choose. I think they are darn glad to be here for many different reasons. Loyalty is something that one acquires. Define loyalty. Standing up for the pledge, learning the pledge in both English and Spanish? Not sure what loyalty really is.

  40. kelly3406


    The U.S. Supreme Court often finds new interpretations of the Constitution to account for changes in society. I think it is high time that the legalities of “jurisdiction” be reinterpreted.

    A necessary but not sufficient condition for jurisdiction is that non-citizens can be denied access to our country. Even diplomats who are not under the jurisdiction can be expelled from the country. Diplomats enter the country through legal ports of entry so their entry/exit can be controlled. But not so for illegal aliens, because there is no official record of their presence in the U.S. This fact alone should be enough to define illegal aliens as legally outside the jurisdiction of the United States.

  41. kelly3406

    Moon-howler :
    kelly, do you honestly think most illegal immigrants intentionally are disrespectful of our laws?

    Yes. They come across the border knowing that it is illegal to do so.

    1. Amd what about those who don’t come across the border ‘knowing it is illegal to do so?’ How about those who overstay a visa? I believe about 45% of our illegal immigrant population has overstayed a visa.

      The fact that people are here because they ignored our laws doesn’t necessarily mean that they have disloyalty to the USA. You are talking some quantum leaps.

      And you can talk about the 14th until the cows come home. That doesn’t change the interpretation–the interpretation for 150 years. Constitutional amendemnt if you want it to happen. That’s how we change things at that level.

  42. George S. Harris

    If you talk to folks at the Public Health Department, you may well find out that people really do come here to have “anchor babies” or whatever you want to call them. They fully understand the 14th Amendment and take advantage of it to the fullest. I think Arizona’s attempt to deny citizenship will be a good test case for review of the 14th Amendment as it pertains to people who are here illegally whether they came across the border without the appropriate “papers”, whether they overstayed their visa or for whatever reason they are here in violation of our immigration laws. If they are here in violation of our immigrations laws, they are here illegally. If they are here illegally, their offspring born here should not be automatically granted citizenship. Illegal is illegal whether the crime is a felony or a misdemeanor, civil or criminal. Pick any dictionary and you will find: Illegal= against the law.

  43. Elena

    Why do you think, within the last decade, we had such a sudden increase in people here who were undocumented? Our building boom, that building boom which got us out of a recession compounded by a terrorist attack. Then nobody seemed to care to much, they just wanted their new house built, we couldn’t build the houses fast enough. Now that we don’t need them, suddenly, they are unwelcome? It reminds me of the chinese exclusion act. We wanted them to build our railroads but not actually count as residents and then when we did not need them anymore, too may yella’s in the country, we kicked them out. Had this country been realistic in its labor during the time of the building boom, we could have increased our legal rate of people into this country. We have a broken immigration system.

    This country has a unique and wonderful citizenship clause, it prevents a class system from happening, it unites us as a people. I would be fully opposed to requiring parents to prove their status for each child.

  44. Plenty of people have babies here because they are pregnant. I doubt that many people think that far ahead, 18 years, to come up with a plan.

    Not saying it isn’t done, I am just saying that is not the reason every illegal immigrant in the United States has a baby.

    The 14th Amendment says what it says. To change that takes a Constitutional Amendment, not just wishing it away. sounds like those who want change need to get busy. A Constitutional amendment takes time and work.

  45. Elena

    Dear George,
    You know I think you are the bomb, you are a wonderful person. Please, come and see the movie Saturday night, if you can, at the Bull Run Uniterian Church.

Comments are closed.