Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano decried how the “tone” of the national immigration law debate “has taken an ugly turn” with the increasing use of nativist rhetoric to attack “anchor babies,” yet glossed over the fact that his Fox colleagues have been some of the loudest proponents of the slur and ending birthright citizenship.
Napolitano condemned attacks on birthright citizenship as “dangerous” and “anti-American” in a September 3 opinion piece for Foxnews.com, detailing how Hispanics are “being demonized because of the politics of nativism.” Revoking the 14th Amendment right to birthright citizenship, Napolitano wrote, would change the country “far more radically and dangerously than any wave of undocumented immigrants did” :
Today, the potential victims of public indifference and government repression are Hispanics in America. Hispanics here without documentation are being demonized because of the politics of nativism. Nativism -- we are exceptional; we are better people than they are; we were here first -- is very dangerous and leads to ugly results.
The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution underscore the truism that all persons have the same natural rights, irrespective of where their mothers were when they delivered them.
The Fourteenth Amendment requires this, and its language is inclusive: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States...” Though written to protect former slaves, its language is not limited to them.
When the history of our times is written, it might relate that the majority repressed the rights of minorities by demonizing them using appeals to group prejudice -- by blaming entire ethnic groups for the criminal behavior of some few members of those groups.
That history might reflect that this was done for short-term political gain.
If that happens, it will have changed America far more radically and dangerously than any wave of undocumented immigrants did.
And that would be profoundly and perhaps irreparably un-American.
Yet Napolitano's criticism fails to note that his Fox colleagues have been some of the loudest proponents of revoking birthright citizenship and using “anchor baby” slurs to demonize immigrants.
Even before Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump proposed amending the constitution to revoke the 14th Amendment right, Fox figures like Bill O'Reilly, Steve Doocy, and Laura Ingraham were calling for an end to birthright citizenship. Their demand grew even louder after Trump voiced his support -- Sean Hannity demanded an end to birthright citizenship to stop “anchor babies” while Fox & Friends lauded Trump's plan as “remarkable.” Lou Dobbs proposed a legal justification to spur along the end of birthright citizenship, which Fox radio host Todd Starnes declared would put “Americans first.”
What's more, Fox figures applauded Trump's use of the term “anchor baby” -- Brian Kilmeade even said “a lot of people think that [term] would be a compliment,” while Hannity claimed “there is no other term to use.”
Beyond a purported wave of “anchor babies” being an anti-immigrant myth, the term is offensive to Hispanics. As NBC News explained, it's a “dog whistle” or a “term used to describe coded language that means one thing in general but has an additional meaning for a targeted population. According to one expert, 'anchor baby' is used as a code 'to stimulate fear about changing racial demographics.'”