California Congressman Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles) lashed out at Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Wednesday, accusing the former Florida governor of making a “dangerous mischaracterization” of Asian immigrants during a recent interview.
“In the same breath that Jeb Bush calls for Americans to ‘chill out’ on political correctness, he accuses Asian immigrants of engaging in an ‘organized effort’ to have ‘anchor babies,'” Lieu said in a statement.
“It is sad to think this all comes from the moderate Republican presidential candidate,” Lieu added. “Jeb Bush is trapped by an influential Tea Party that continues to advocate for policies that help the few at the expense of the many. My fellow Democrats and I are fighting for something different – an America that cherishes and works for everyone.”
Bush was speaking Monday at a press conference in the border town of McAllen, Texas when he addressed calls made by some other Republican presidential candidates to end birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants. During his remarks, Bush defended his prior use of the term “anchor baby:”
“”What I was talking about was the specific case of fraud being committed, where there’s organized efforts – and frankly it’s more related to Asian people coming into our country – having children in that organized effort, taking advantage of a noble concept, which is birthright citizenship,” Bush said, according to NBC News.
Bush’s comments drew swift backlash and prompted calls for an apology from several Asian-American lawmakers.
Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, called Bush’s use of the term “anchor baby” “outrageous” and “insulting to both Hispanics and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders” in a conference call on Tuesday, reports NBC.
“All that is accomplished through talk of anchor-babies – be they from Latin America, Asia, Europe, or Africa – is to use xenophobia to further isolate immigrants,” Chu said. “It’s time for our country to return to a substantive discussion on immigration.”
“It is important that everyone has the opportunity to succeed,” Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) added on the conference call. “Yesterday, Jeb Bush sounded like he wants to divide us, pit one group against each other, one neighbor against another. This is not the American dream.”
Breitbart News has reported extensively on California’s so-called “maternity hotels,” in which foreign women, predominantly from China, traveled to the United States shortly before their due dates to ensure American citizenship for their children. In March, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials raided 20 southern California facilities accused of engaging in “maternity tourism” scams.