Fox Nation uses “derogatory, even racist” term “anchor babies”

The Fox Nation linked to an article reporting on how “Republican lawmakers in Congress are sponsoring a bill that seeks to abolish birthright citizenship for children born in the United States to illegal immigrant parents” using the headline, “GOP Targets 'Anchor Babies.'” Several media outlets have identified the term “anchor babies” as, in the words of the Rocky Mountain News, “derogatory, even racist, because it implies that Hispanics are having children as a way to stay in the U.S.”

Fox Nation uses “anchor babies” slur

From Fox Nation's website, accessed February 17:

Fox Nation

Despite appearing in quotes in Fox Nation's headline, the term appears nowhere in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin article to which Fox Nation linked.

Several media outlets have identified term as “derogatory,” “pejorative”

Rocky Mountain News: Term “considered by many to be derogatory, even racist.” An August 2006 Rocky Mountain News article reported of children born in the United States to undocumented immigrants: “Opponents of illegal immigration call them 'anchor babies' - a term considered by many to be derogatory, even racist, because it implies that Hispanics are having children as a way to stay in the U.S.”

San Diego Union-Tribune, Reno Gazette-Journal: Term is “pejorative.” An April 2006 San Diego Union-Tribune article stated that an anti-immigration activist “dismissed teens marching in Los Angeles as 'probably part of the anchor baby-boom of the late 1980s and 1990s,' using a pejorative term for the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants.” Likewise, an October 2008 Reno Gazette-Journal article reported that "[s]ome opponents of illegal immigration call such children 'anchor babies,' a pejorative term that implies the child will serve as an 'anchor' for his or her illegal immigrant parents, preventing the parents' deportations and acting as a pathway to citizenship for the whole family." [accessed from the Nexis database]

Chicago Tribune's Zorn: Term is “loaded language.” In an August 2006 blog post, columnist Eric Zorn wrote that after receiving complaints for his prior use of the term:

I defended myself -- the term has appeared regularly in news stories since 1997, usually softened by quotations as in my column, and refers to the practice/hopes of illegal immigrants that if their children are born in the U.S. they will serve as an anchor that will help allow their parents to say here. And Doug Rivlin, spokesman for the National Immigration Forum, a leading immigrants'-rights group, said he does not consider the term particularly offensive.

However, Rivlin said, it's a “politically charged term” originated and favored by those who are opposed to liberalized immigration laws. And a quick check through various sources confirms this.

“They use it to spark resentment against immigrants,” Rivlin said of his ideological foes. “They use it to make these children sound non-human.”

To me, that's good enough reason to regret having used it and to decide not to use it in the future.

Sound arguments don't need loaded language.