“God, are we idiots” : Boyles repeated “anchor baby” falsehood with a new twist

During his 630 KHOW-AM show, Peter Boyles falsely claimed that a Mexican national accused of selling her baby to a Pueblo couple could stay in the United States if the child were given back to her and that the couple allegedly bought the so-called “anchor baby” to avoid deportation. As Colorado Media Matters has noted repeatedly, having a child in the United States does not affect the parents' immigration status.

While discussing the case of a Mexican citizen who allegedly sold her 5-month-old son to a couple in Pueblo, on the February 28 broadcast of his show 630 KHOW-AM host Peter Boyles repeated the falsehood that a baby born in the United States to illegal immigrants “keeps mom here. Mom and dad.” Boyles further speculated that the couple accused of buying the child did so to avoid deportation themselves. In fact, under federal law the birth of a child in the United States does not affect the immigration status of the parents, adoptive or otherwise.

According to a February 28 article in the Rocky Mountain News, “Pueblo police arrested a woman Tuesday after receiving a tip that she sold her 5-month-old son for money and a down payment on a used Dodge Intrepid. Nicole Uribe, 23, took delivery on the car Feb. 21, said Pueblo police Sgt. Brett Wilson.” The News further reported that "[t]he couple who police say bought Uribe's child, Irene and Jose-Juan Lerma, also were arrested on child trafficking charges ... The Lermas are also Mexican nationals, Wilson said, but he was uncertain of their legal status in the United States."

Commenting on the News article, Boyles falsely claimed, “That baby's an anchor. You get it? So when these people, who are being portrayed as wonderful humans for buying the baby -- there's a reason to buy that baby, if you think about it. The baby's an anchor.” Later in the broadcast, in reference to Uribe, Boyles said, “Here's the cool part: give her back the baby and she won't be deported. It's an anchor baby.” Boyles also stated, “And I believe -- and we'll see what happens -- that's why these people, these other Mexican nationals bought the kid.” Boyles concluded by saying, “God, are we idiots!”

Boyles and callers to his show repeatedly assumed that all three parties in the alleged transaction were illegal immigrants, although the News article reported that Sgt. Wilson “was uncertain of [the Lermas'] legal status in the United States.” Boyles continued to repeat his “anchor baby” falsehood by claiming that the child would confer special benefits regarding deportation or citizenship either to Uribe if she kept the child or to the Lermas had they been able acquire the child.

However, as Colorado Media Matters has noted (here, here, and here), federal courts have “upheld the refusal by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (I.N.S.) to stay the deportation of illegal aliens” simply because they have children who are U.S.-born, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). The CRS report further specified that “the mere fact of the existence of U.S.-citizen, minor children would not be sufficient to prevent the deportation of illegal alien parents.”

Furthermore, federal law stipulates that U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants must wait until they are 21 to petition for their parents to be given legal status. The CRS report noted:

Federal courts have found that this requirement is meant “to prevent wholesale circumvention of the immigration laws by persons who enter the country illegally and promptly have children to avoid deportation,” and does not violate equal protection by distinguishing between U.S.-citizen children who are minors and those who have attained majority.

Boyles' claim that an “anchor baby” would give its parents “a leg up on citizenship” appears only to be true in the sense that, 21 years after being born in the United States, the “baby” would have the privilege of petitioning for its parents to gain legal status in the United States.

Additionally, when asked about what happens to children of illegal immigrants when the parents are deported, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesman Carl Rusnok said, “Normally, the parent takes the kids with them,” according to a December 7, 2006, article in the Houston Chronicle. Rusnok explained that "[i]f ICE knows that a single parent is being deported, they give the parent the option of having the children deported with them, at ICE's expense."

From the February 28 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show:

BOYLES: She sold the baby to two people who no one is really sure of, whether or not they're legally in this country. Now, you don't think they were going to get something? I mean they take the baby. You go and say -- what, you get stamps? What do you get for this? What do they get if they claim the baby is theirs? That baby's an anchor. You get it? So when these people, who are being portrayed as wonderful humans for buying the baby -- there's a reason to buy that baby, if you think about it. The baby's an anchor. Baby keeps mom here. Mom and dad. So watch this story. Headline: “Woman accused of selling tot.” Police arrest a woman for receiving -- after receiving a tip she sold a 5-month-old son for money.

[...]

BOYLES: Here's the cool part: give her back the baby and she won't be deported. It's an anchor baby. She's here, all right? And I believe -- and we'll see what happens -- that's why these people, these other Mexican nationals bought the kid. God, are we idiots!

[...]

BOYLES: You got three adults in this story -- they're all illegals.

CALLER: Yep, every one of 'em. Yep, this is absolutely amazing.

BOYLES: And why would these people -- I love this -- why would they want to buy a baby like that?

CALLER: Ah, well, you know --

BOYLES: It's like buying ID.

CALLER: That's exactly what they're doing.

BOYLES: Sure!

CALLER: So --

BOYLES: I mean, but I love -- I love it. I absolutely love it.

[...]

CALLER: What's the chances that the names used on the birth certificate and the ID associated with those names --

BOYLES: Well.

CALLER: -- was also sold with the baby?

BOYLES: No, you're right.

CALLER: In which case, I would be willing to bet that this is not a singular event.

BOYLES: No. Well, apparently, according to what we're reading in the paper, is that this woman has two other kids already in Mexico.

CALLER: Mm-hmm.

BOYLES: So she's 23, this is her third kid.

CALLER: Sure.

BOYLES: The baby was born a U.S. citizen. That's a 14th Amendment baby.

CALLER: Right, probably with a fake ID --

BOYLES: I don't know. I mean, instant citizen. Anchor baby. Whatever you want to call it.

CALLER: But what happens when you want sell off that baby with the ID --

BOYLES: Well --

CALLER: -- that the baby was born with --

BOYLES: Sure.

CALLER: -- under that name.

BOYLES: And that gives the parents -- the new parents, the --

CALLER: The purchasers.

BOYLES: Right. They get a leg up on U.S. citizenship.

CALLER: Absolutely.

BOYLES: Bingo!

CALLER: Yep.

BOYLES: So I love these people: “I don't know why they would do it.” What are you, an idiot?