Jeb Bush found himself at the center of a storm of controversy after using the term “anchor babies.” Facing outrage from the Hispanic community, Bush later attempted to clarify his remarks, stating that he was referring to Asian immigrants. However, that drew even more condemnation from an entirely new ethnic group. But sure enough, a number of immigration experts claim that Bush is absolutely correct about the growing issue, despite the bumbling way he presented the information.
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Speaking at a Monday campaign stop in the border town of McAllen, Texas, Bush arguably dug himself deeper in the hole: “What I was talking about was the specific case of fraud being committed, where there’s organized efforts – and frankly it’s more related to Asian people coming into our country – having children in that organized effort…”
Bush’s camp was quick to specify that the former Florida governor was criticizing the practice of birth tourism, where women from foreign countries come to the United States just so their babies will automatically obtain American citizenship. The laws stipulate that almost any child born on American soil is granted citizenship, whether or not the parents have any legal claims to be in the country.
In order to combat the problems that birth tourism creates, federal authorities have launched investigations into stateside operations that facilitate the practice. They have uncovered a network of such businesses specifically geared towards Chinese women, with a March raid on several Southern California hotspots closing off a major source of support for so-called birth tourists.
Compared to the number of children born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrants – which is estimated at around 350,000 – a recent study by the Center for Immigration Studies places the number of birth tourists at around 36,000 annually. “That’s much smaller than the number born to illegals, but it’s not nothing. An illegal immigrant is seldom coming here just to give birth … birth tourism is a more conscious, preplanned phenomenon,” stated CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian.