Jeb Bush faces crit­i­cism for call­ing ‘an­chor ba­bies’ Asian

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By CHEN WEIHUA in Washington chen­wei­hua@chi­nadai­lyusa. com

For­mer Florida gover­nor Jeb Bush, who is seek­ing to be­come the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, has drawn crit­i­cism the past two days for his re­marks link­ing “an­chor ba­bies” with Asian Amer­i­cans.

He said on Mon­day that he used to term to de­scribe cases in which for­eign­ers abuse the law to gain cit­i­zen­ship for their chil­dren, and that it’s more preva­lent among Asians.

Bush’s com­ment dur­ing a visit to a US-Mexico bor­der town was largely aimed at al­le­vi­at­ing per­ceived anger among the His­panic com­mu­nity but un­ex­pect­edly trig­gered a strong re­ac­tion from Asian-Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties, in par­tic­u­lar those in the Demo­cratic Party.

On Tues­day, Judy Chu, a Demo­cratic con­gress­woman from Cal­i­for­nia and chair­woman of the Con­gres­sional Asian Pa­cific Amer­i­can Cau­cus, de­scribed Bush’s com­ments as “both deroga­tory and of­fen­sive”.

“In­stead of apol­o­giz­ing for us­ing such an of­fen­sive term, he spent his time de­fend­ing his com­ments. Ba­si­cally, he shrugged his shoul­ders and said, ‘Well, the re­al­ity is I don’t mean His­pan­ics, I mean Asians,’ ” Chu told a con­fer­ence call on Tues­day. “This was even worse, pit­ting one group against the other.”

Call­ing Bush un­fit to be pres­i­dent, Chu also pointed to Repub­li­can can­di­dates Don­ald Trump and Scott Walker, who ques­tioned birthright cit­i­zen­ship.

Grace Meng, a Demo­cratic con­gress­woman from New York, ex­pressed her dis­ap­point­ment at the Repub­li­can mes­sage of “slur­ring the chil­dren of im­mi­grants, whether His­pan­ics or Asians”.

Rep­re­sent­ing a di­verse dis­trict in Queens, Meng said “when you rep­re­sent an area like this, you un­der­stand how im­por­tant it is to en­sure that ev­ery­one has op­por­tu­nity to suc­ceed no mat­ter what their back­ground and where their par­ents came from”.

“Im­mi­grant fam­i­lies work hard,” she said. “We pay taxes. We serve in the mil­i­tary. We are friends, neigh­bors and com­mu­nity mem­bers. We con­trib­ute to the cul­tural fab­ric of this coun­try and our com­mu­ni­ties. All we ask is to be treated with re­spect and to have equal op­por­tu­nity of achiev­ing the Amer­i­can Dream.”

In a state­ment on Tues­day, Mike Honda, a Demo­cratic con­gress­man from Cal­i­for­nia, said “this lan­guage is a slur against all im­mi­grants and has no place in our cul­ture. We need to be fo­cused on el­e­vat­ing the con­ver­sa­tion and work­ing to­wards real, com­pre­hen­sive immigration re­form.

“As the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the only Asian- Amer­i­can ma­jor­ity dis­trict in the con­ti­nen­tal United States, and as a proud Amer­i­can of Ja­panese de­scent, I strongly con­demn these state­ments,” said Honda, whose 17th con­gres­sional dis­trict is lo­cated in Sil­i­con Val­ley.

Stan Tsai, pres­i­dent of the Asian Pa­cific Is­lan­der Amer­i­can Public Af­fairs As­so­ci­a­tion, Greater DC chap­ter, told China Daily that birthright is a US law, and it does en­cour­age peo­ple to go to the US so that their chil­dren can be born there.

“As is hu­man na­ture, all par­ents will find a bet­ter

In­stead of apol­o­giz­ing for us­ing such an of­fen­sive term, he (Jeb Bush) spent his time de­fend­ing his com­ments.”

Judy Chu, Cal­i­for­nia con­gress­woman

fu­ture and bet­ter op­por­tu­nity for their kids. Noth­ing wrong with that,” he said.

Tsai said if any­one doesn’t like the idea about birthright cit­i­zen­ship, they should change it.

Im­me­di­ately af­ter Bush’s com­ments on Mon­day, the Na­tional Coun­cil of Asian Pa­cific Amer­i­cans ( NCAPA) and OCA-Asian Pa­cific Amer­i­can Ad­vo­cates is­sued state­ments con­demn­ing Bush’s use of the term an­chor ba­bies.

On Tu e s d a y,

Bush de­fended him­self in a town hall meet­ing in Colorado by say­ing that “I was talk­ing about a very nar­row­cast sys­tem of fraud where peo­ple are bring­ing … preg­nant women in to have ba­bies to have birthright cit­i­zen­ship” with­out nam­ing Asian im­mi­grants.

In early March, US Immigration and Cus­toms En­force­ment agents raided 37 so called “ma­ter­nity ho­tels” or birthing cen­ters in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia to col­lect ev­i­dence for al­leged visa fraud and tax fraud.

Women travel from China and pay thou­sands of dol­lars to stay at the ho­tels, with the fees vary­ing depend­ing on the length of stay and level of ac­com­mo­da­tions.

A to­tal of 29 Chi­nese in­di­vid­u­als were pre­vi­ously des­ig­nated by US mag­is­trates as wit­nesses to tes­tify against the busi­ness op­er­a­tors who al­legedly helped women come to the US on fraud­u­lent visas. In ex­change, they would not be pros­e­cuted.

Ac­cord­ing to Chi­nese media re­ports, the num­ber of Chi­nese women who trav­eled to the US to have ba­bies has in­creased by 100 times over the last 10 years. In 2007, the num­ber was 600 and rose to more than 10,000 in 2008, when the US eased its visa pro­cess­ing for Chi­nese.

It was ex­pected that 60,000 Chi­nese women were go­ing to give birth in the US this year.

Amid the con­tro­versy, Demo­cratic can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton an­nounced on Tues­day that Lisa Changad­veja, a Thai Amer­i­can, has been named the Asian Amer­i­can-Pa­cific Is­lan­der (AAPI) Out­reach Di­rec­tor for Hil­lary for Amer­ica’s cam­paign to mo­bi­lize Asian vot­ers.

A UCLA Cen­ter for the Study of In­equal­ity and Asian Pa­cific Amer­i­can In­sti­tute for Con­gres­sional Stud­ies re­port in May showed that Asian-Amer­i­can vot­ers will play an im­por­tant role in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial race.

The study finds that AsianAmer­i­can reg­is­tered vot­ers will more than dou­ble from 5.9 mil­lion in 2015 to 12.2 mil­lion in 2040.

Asian Amer­i­cans will grow 74 per­cent — from 20.5 mil­lion to 35.7 mil­lion — from 2015 to 2040.

Lia Zhu in San Fran­cisco con­trib­uted to this story.

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