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Monday, October 24, 2016

By Emily Stephenson

(Reuters) — U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush said on Monday it was ludicrous to describe his use of the term “anchor babies” as offensive to immigrants, saying his original comments referred more to Asians coming to the United States to give birth.

Bush’s remarks came at a news conference in McAllen, Texas, near the border with Mexico, where he was asked whether using the “anchor babies” term in a radio interview last week could affect his ability to win Hispanic votes.

“My background, my life, the fact that I’m 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, whose wife was born in Mexico and who answered some questions in Spanish,

“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,” he said.

The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants citizenship to any child born on U.S. soil, regardless of parentage.

Immigration critics sometimes use “anchor babies” to describe U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants, usually from Latin America. Immigration groups say the phrase is offensive.

The former Florida governor sounded frustrated to have to address the issue again after telling reporters last week he did not regret using the term because he did not know of a better one.

After Bush used the “anchor babies” phrase last week, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton criticized him, tweeting: “They’re called babies.”

“I support the 14th Amendment. Nothing about what I’ve said should be viewed as derogatory towards immigrants at all,” Bush told reporters.

“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 so their children can become citizens,” Bush said. “That’s fraud.”

Federal agents earlier this year described “maternity tourism” schemes in which wealthy foreign women, particularly from China, travel to the United States to give birth so their children will have U.S. citizenship.

In a statement on Monday, the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans condemned “the use of the derogatory term ‘anchor babies.’”

Saying that because of actions ranging from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 “to now calling us ‘anchor babies,’ Asian American and Pacific Islander communities continue to be discriminated against as part of larger anti-immigrant rhetoric,” the group said.

Republicans have identified illegal immigration as a key topic for primary voters, but they want to avoid driving away Hispanic voters whose support they will need against the eventual Democratic nominee.

Some Republicans seeking the 2016 presidential nomination, including Donald Trump, have criticized across-the-board birthright citizenship.

(Reporting by Emily Stephenson and Peter Cooney; Additional reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Bill Rigby and Leslie Adler)

Reuters: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks at a campaign stop in Davenport, Iowa, United States, August 13, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young

  • Paragryne

    Glad he cleared that up. Everything’s all better now.

    • TZToronto

      It’s amazing how he manages to put his foot deeper into his mouth, just when you think he’s got it in just about as far as it will go. I think he’s got it up to his knee now.

      • neeceoooo

        Following in the foot steps of his older brother. W spent 8 years with either one or two feet in at all times.

    • Whittier5

      Remember, Barbara’s comment about W, to the effect of, “George’s mouth is where words go to die”? I guess older son W did so much talking that she didn’t even notice it with J.E.B.

  • Böcker

    What’s that sound?? Jeb! back peddling.

    • neeceoooo

      The same back peddling when he said he would have done the same thing his brother did with taking us into the war

  • FireBaron

    Ah! So he meant Bobby Jindal, not Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz!

    • idamag

      got a laugh out of your response. Good one.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    No matter what JEB says, his tongue, just like his brothers before him, always wraps in a tangle before he speaks.

    So now Asians are the problem? Does he mean all of those from India his big time campaign donors hire in the US for HMOs and Big Pharma?

    Methinks it would be better if JEB just kept his “ignernt” mouth shut. He is just changing his tune like all Republican men do when they step on campaign donors toes.

    • Whittier5

      Actually, J.E.B.’s “big time campaign donors hire” those Indians to boost their Annual Bonus, so that they have more than enough to give a little to J.E.B..

      • Eleanore Whitaker

        JEB isn’t going anywhere. Once his record of his association with those Miami thugs who bilked Medicare comes out, he’s going to have to answer to that. He will also have to answer for his bankruptcy filing of the Miami Federal with his brother 2-time bankruptcy filer, Neil Bush of S&L Silverado fame.

  • Paul Bass

    Jeb! is just saying what his bigoted, anti-immigrant, anti-women, anti-LGBT, RWNJ base electorate wants him to say.
    Yep, just pander to the worst of your party, that is bound to help you get elected.

    • plc97477

      The gotp are quickly running out of voters to piss off. So far they have alienated females, latinos, the elderly, minorities, youth, and the intelligent people. Who else is left, or should I say right?

    • idamag

      That is why Trump is so popular with the party and jeb sees that.

  • Whittier5

    J.E.B., that more correct term that was eluding you is in the US Constitution: “natural born American” … who one day just might grab that Job you are campaigning for.

    Question, J.E.B., why would a guy who made $Million$ on the S&L Bailout, and has since leaving the Governorship of FL, made $Million$ more from questionable sources, be using $Million$ more of other people’s Money to run for a $400,000/year job?

    • Daniel Jones

      Just Everybody’s Bane wants to be the placeholder so his fellow conservatives will continue to look fondly on the Bush League.

    • idamag

      Power. We also might remember he had Choice Point purge 10,000 registered voters from the voter rolls. When these voters sent a delegation to Washington to protest their not getting to vote, Choice Point said an error rate of 7 to 15% was acceptable. An error rate of less than 1% is not acceptable when it comes to the right to vote.

  • indiokie

    So insulting the Hispanics wasn’t enough. Now, lets go after the Asians. What an idiot. Hey Jeb, in case you didn’t know, Asians vote too.

    • Lynda Groom

      I know it’s hard to believe, but he is suppose to be the smart one.

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        over ínternet i located online.. thís
        ís a perfect way of earning some
        passive cash whìch ìs just what i have
        been in search for for ages.. get informed
        more about thís website thís síte over
        at my disqus profìle

  • idamag

    Alixgilman2 is a scam. If nobody fell for these kinds of things, they would go away.