Jeb Bush is feeling the heat of Donald Trump‘s unexpected dominance in the GOP race for president.
Although the former Florida governor has said that the immigration proposals released by Trump earlier this week, which include calling for an end to birthright citizenship — simply aren’t practical, he used the derogatory term “anchor babies” when speaking about it on a nationally syndicated radio show on Wednesday.
“If there’s abuse, if people are bringing — pregnant women are coming in to have babies simply because they can do it, then there ought to be greater enforcement,” Bush said on Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” show. “That’s [the] legitimate side of this. Better enforcement so that you don’t have these, you know, ‘anchor babies,’ as they’re described, coming into the country.”
Today, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said she was “appalled” to learn that Bush had made the comment, saying, “calling the children of undocumented immigrants ‘anchor babies’ makes Bush no better than Trump or the rest of the Republicans running for president.”
The party chair lamented that Bush wasn’t alone on the issue, citing the fact that a number of other GOP presidential candidates have expressed similar remarks now or in the past about changing the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and repealing birthright citizenship.
Critics note that if birthright citizenship wasn’t the law of the land, the GOP has two presidential candidates — Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal — who could be referred to by that inelegant phrase. The National Journal on Wednesday reported that neither of Rubio’s parents were U.S. citizens when he was born in 1971. And CBS News reported back in 2010 on the status of whether Jindal would have been a U.S. citizen if birthright citizenship was revoked.
Noting that Trump caught fire on the campaign trail shortly after his incendiary remarks about illegal immigrants from Mexico being rapists, Wasserman Schultz said on a conference call that the entire GOP presidential field was in a race to the bottom when it came to showing how tough they could be on immigration. She mentioned how Marco Rubio, who was a sponsor of the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed in the U.S. Senate two years ago, is now talking about a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people, which could last as long as “probably 20 years or more.”
“Words can’t express just how dismaying is to hear the field of GOP candidates take this ugly and dark turn away from trying to unite us as a nation and give us a vision of the future, and trying to drag out stale old arguments that seek to divide us in this country rather than get us moving in the same direction,” added California Democratic U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez, the head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. “I find it highly ironic that Republicans feel the Second Amendment is ironclad, but for some reason, the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution is open to interpretation.”
Pablo Manriquez, director of Hispanic media for the DNC, couldn’t even use the term that offended Democrats, calling it “unspeakably vulgar,” and adding that it’s a “phrase so vulgar that we don’t even have an equivalent in Spanish.”
As she often does, Wasserman Schultz couldn’t resist giving a jab to her GOP counterpart, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who was responsible for producing what has been termed the Republican Party’s “autopsy” report produced after the 2012 election. That’s the election in which standard-bearer Mitt Romney received just 27 percent of the Latino vote.
The DNC chair read aloud from page 8 of the report, which says:
If Hispanic Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the U.S. (i.e., self deportation) they will not pay attention to our next sentence:.It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy. If Hispanics think that we do not want them here they will close their ears to our policies.
But apparently the Democrats aren’t beyond offering their own comments that offend Latinos.
On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton reiterated her stance that undocumented immigrants should be deported if they cross the border illegally. At a press conference in Las Vegas, said that the “message” must be clear that Central American families must not send their children into the United States
That comment was met with criticism by the director of one Latino organization.
“Today Hillary Clinton lost numerous Latino votes by denying the worth of our children’s lives,” said Arturo Carmona, Presente Action’s executive director in a statement. “The statements made by Clinton are deeply concerning: To argue for the deportation of children who came to the U.S. fleeing violence is not only inhumane but anti-immigrant and inconsistent with our values and laws as a nation. Were Clinton’s own grandchild in grave danger or at risk for her life, we can only hope she would find a place with more humanity than what Clinton proposes here in the U.S.— are Latino children’s lives less valuable to Clinton?”
Carmona went on to say, “We urge Hillary Clinton to immediately clarify her statements and advance a position that does not risk the lives of Latino children. Few could imagine a Clinton-Trump presidential ticket, but Hillary’s dangerous statements against children seeking refuge puts the two rivals dangerously close on this issue so important to Latino voters and those who care about human rights.”