Dear Jeb: stop trying to tiptoe around the anchor baby question

When a politician makes a legitimate mistake we expect them to own up to it, apologize and make a good faith effort to set things right. But one of the more sickening examples of political chicanery on display in America’s election circus is when candidates run for cover in the face of blowhard activists because they’re afraid they might have violated the new rules of political correctness. That seems to be what was happening with Jeb Bush this week when reporters pressed him on his recent use of the term anchor babies. Rather than launching into a strong defense of sensible immigration policy, Bush looks like he began backpedaling and searching for some way move the game by claiming that he wasn’t talking about Hispanics (who he needs in order to win the election) but rather… Asians.

Are you serious, Jeb? (ABC News)

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has ignited a firestorm once again — saying his use of the controversial term “anchor babies” is “more related to Asian people.”

Bush, who traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border today, has refused to back down from using the term, a derogatory phrase used to refer to the children of undocumented immigrants born on American soil. Both he and Donald Trump have drawn fire for the usage…

He has defended the term and tried to clarify today, saying that it is “ludicrous” that anyone says his usage of “anchor babies” is derogatory. He also added that he was actually referring to the “birth tourism” industry.

Before getting to my general annoyance with Jeb Bush over this, we should note that he is correctly identifying a separate problem. I only recently became acquainted with the term “birth tourism” which is also known as “maternity tourism.” It’s not only a very real thing but one which the feds have been trying (in vain) to crack down on. (Wall Street Journal, from May of this year)

Federal agents Tuesday executed search warrants at several Southern California sites they say are connected to three multimillion-dollar birth-tourism businesses that enabled thousands of Chinese women to travel here and return home with infants born as U.S. citizens.

The investigations are likely to culminate in the biggest federal criminal case ever against the booming “anchor baby” industry, according to U.S. authorities. The search warrants cite suspected visa fraud, tax evasion and harboring illegal immigrants, among other charges.

Agents seized records from apartments where, they said, Chinese women on tourist visas stay before and after delivering babies, as well as from residences of U.S.-based individuals who they allege run three separate anchor-baby operations in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties.

Yes, this is a problem, and one which the authors of the 14th amendment completely failed to anticipate when drafting that rather sloppily written piece of our nation’s core documents. But in practice it’s really no different than any other case of non-citizens with no allegiance to this country coming here (by any means) for the specific purpose of having a child to secure American citizenship for them. The only difference here is that they happen to be better off financially. And that’s where the conversation swings back to Bush’s embarrassing performance.

Let me offer Jeb bush a nickel’s worth of free advice. You want to know why Donald Trump is doing so well in the polls and generally kicking your butt? Because he doesn’t immediately run away and bury his head in the sand every time the Army of Political Correctness wags a finger at him over their latest fauxrage de jour. The term anchor baby isn’t racist because, by definition, it can apply to anyone of any race from any other nation on the planet. White Europeans, black people from African nations, Hispanics or Asians (as in the article above) can all play this game. And if it’s not racist, then your opponents will say that it’s “offensive” to illegal immigrants. Boo hoo. Illegal immigrants are criminals and I’m not going to spend my time worrying about whether or not I’ve hurt the feelings of those who make their stock in trade out of breaking our laws. And I don’t expect our candidate to do so either. Even if you’re being purely opportunistic here for electoral reasons (which seems obvious) you don’t need to spend your time worrying about offending people who can’t legally vote anyway.

At this point it’s too late for Bush to correct course and try to walk this back to his original, more Trumpish position. If he does that now he’s just going to look like a massive flip-flopper who is being bullied by external forces rather than hewing to his own convictions. But really… isn’t that what he’s already doing? He tried to take a stand on one aspect of the illegal alien problem which was admittedly impressive. But as soon as the press began to badger him about it he turned tail and ran, coming up with one of the least believable “excuses” on record to explain away what he said. The other candidates should take note of this and learn their lesson. Take a stand and stick with it. If you fall into the trap that Jeb Bush just triggered it simply becomes painful to watch.

Oh, and even if you do plan to throw in the towel and kowtow to the forces of political correctness, here’s one last tip for you. When your enemies accuse you of insulting Hispanics it’s probably not a smart move to respond by saying, “No… no… I meant to offend the Asians!”

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