LATINO VOICES

8 Terms That Are Way Better Than The Slur ‘Anchor Baby’

“Do you have a better term?” Actually, we do.

In recent days, a few Republican presidential candidates have stoked controversy by using the term “anchor baby” to refer to people born in the United States to foreigners -- part of a larger debate among Republicans over whether to restrict birthright citizenship. GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush drew particular attention when defending the term on Aug. 20, in his televised comments to reporters after a town hall event in New Hampshire. 

“Do you have a better term?” a defensive Bush asked. “You give me a better term, and I’ll use it.”

The term is a slur that many people find offensive. The Hispanic Leadership Network, a conservative Latino group that organized conferences that Bush co-chaired for three years in a row, urged conservative politicians to avoid using the derogatory term in order to avoid offending Latino voters.

But for those like Bush who are struggling for a way to explain themselves without offending large chunks of the populace, we’ve decided to offer a few alternatives for the term. Here’s eight ways to refer to the children of undocumented immigrants without using offensive slur.

  • 1 Americans with undocumented parents
    <span style="color: #000000;">Most people use the </span><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.huffpost.com/ent
    MarKord via Getty Images
    Most people use the slur “anchor baby” to refer to the children of undocumented parents. If that’s the group you’re trying to refer to, this is an easy way to do it accurately. Yes, it’s 12 syllables, but sometimes extra syllables are the price of precision.  
  • 2 Children of foreigners
    <span style="color: #222222;">Bush has said several times that he supports birthright citizenship, but that the government sh
    Jupiterimages via Getty Images
    Bush has said several times that he supports birthright citizenship, but that the government should do more to prevent so-called "birth tourism," primarily from China. The slur "anchor baby" does not even seem to apply to this group, the vast majority of whom reportedly enter legally on tourist visas and take their children back to China after they're born. "Children of foreigners," accurately describes this group. "Children of foreign citizens who enter as tourists to give birth" is longer, still, but more specific.
  • 3 Americans
    <span style="color: #222222;">This debate will surely blow over soon. Immigration hardliners do not have enough votes to pass
    WillSelarep via Getty Images
    This debate will surely blow over soon. Immigration hardliners do not have enough votes to pass a bill restricting birthright citizenship through Congress, let alone amend the Constitution, which this measure would likely require. So maybe politicians would do best to simply refer to the children of immigrants as “Americans,” which is what they are.
  • 4 Babies
    <span style="color: #222222;">Another worthy substitute. When referring to the recently born children of immigrants -- whose
    Vladimir Godnik via Getty Images
    Another worthy substitute. When referring to the recently born children of immigrants -- whose citizenship, as we’ve noted, is not in question -- consider just using the term babies, which is plenty accurate and really short.  
  • 5 People
    <span style="color: #222222;">This term also works. It&rsquo;s similar to &ldquo;babies,&rdquo; but it encompasses people of
    Elizabeth Parodi via Getty Images
    This term also works. It’s similar to “babies,” but it encompasses people of all ages.
  • 6 Human beings
    <span><span style="color: #222222;">This is the way U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who is also vying for the GOP presidentia
    monkeybusinessimages via Getty Images
    This is the way U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who is also vying for the GOP presidential nomination, went with it in an interview last week with CNBC, in which the reporter asked what Rubio thought of the issue. “They are not just statistics,” Rubio said, refusing to use the term "anchor baby." “They are human beings with stories.”  
  • 7 Children of God
    <span style="color: #222222;">If you&rsquo;re feeling energetic and willing to sacrifice brevity, then you could go with this
    MaxRiesgo via Getty Images
    If you’re feeling energetic and willing to sacrifice brevity, then you could go with this one, which has the added benefit of showing off your personal faith and sense of respect for others.
  • 8 By their individual names
    <span><span style="color: #222222;">If you want to get really specific about who you&rsquo;re talking about, you could refer
    Jamie Grill via Getty Images
    If you want to get really specific about who you’re talking about, you could refer to the people you’re talking to by their individual names. Maybe while engaging in a conversation with them, you can ask what they think of the term “anchor baby.” We have a pretty good idea what they might tell you.

 

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