The loaded term ‘anchor baby’ conceals complex issues

27 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

George W. Bush to headline fund-raiser for Jeb.

WASHINGTON – Real estate mogul Donald Trump is dominating polls and capturing headlines in the Republican presidential race, but rival Jeb Bush is still the favorite of traders in political prediction markets.-Mexico border to give birth to children who are U.S. citizens and would shield them from deportation (though the parents of such children have been frequently deported). Jeb Bush linked Asian Americans to the term “anchor babies” on Monday, saying they commit fraud in order to “take advantage of a noble concept, which is birthright citizenship,” he received heaps of criticism. While Bush has been eclipsed by Trump in opinion polls, the former Florida governor is riding high with online traders who give him a 40 percent chance to capture the party’s presidential nomination, according to prediction market aggregator

Bush gave the term another twist this week when he defended its use, then said, “Frankly, it’s more related to Asian people.” While some have children in the U.S. to gain economic advantages, Southern California has seen a boom in so-called maternity tourism, often involving well-to-do pregnant women from Asia who are in the United States legally. Asian American lawmakers are demanding an apology from the presidential hopeful, who has joined other GOP candidates including Donald Trump and Louisiana Gov. Florida Senator Marco Rubio is a distant second with a 15 percent chance, and Trump has risen to third in recent weeks with 14 percent, according to PredictWise, which aggregates about a half-dozen political prediction markets. Last year, federal agents targeted three Southern California businesses that helped pregnant Chinese women travel to the U.S., usually on tourist visas, so their children could be born U.S. citizens. Those markets, in which traders bet on the outcomes of various events, often have a better track record than polls in determining a winner in elections.

A website called has more than 100 listings for maternity hotels in Arcadia, Irvine, Rowland Heights, Monterey Park and other local cities, with names such as USLoveBaby and Star Baby Care Center. His immigration platform calls for the end of birthright citizenship, saying it “remains the biggest magnet” for illegal immigration. “A woman’s getting ready to have a baby,” Trump said at a news conference Tuesday. “She crosses the border for one day, has the baby.

In Arcadia, the phenomenon became so well known that the sight of an unfamiliar pregnant Asian woman has led some to call police. “A lot of times, someone will see a pregnant woman of Asian descent walking around who they don’t know and think, hey, she’s here illegally and call us about it,” said Arcadia Police Lt. A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Tuesday showed Bush tumbling into a tie for third behind Trump, as Bush’s support fell from 16 percent to 8 percent over five days.

Roy Nakamura. “Sometimes it just ends up being a relative of a resident that resides here, and the home hasn’t been modified into a business.” In 2013, the Arcadia Police Department assigned a full-time detective to handle complaints about birth tourism and other quality of life issues, Nakamura said. Authorities investigate each complaint for violations of building codes and city ordinances, but say they have identified only one illegal birthing center. Trump has been on the move, however, attracting about 50 percent of the bets since the first debate earlier this month and rising to second, Scott said.

As the practice has become better known and immigration officials more focused on it, pregnant women have been denied visas or refused entry into the U.S. For the Democrats, front-runner Hillary Clinton has been a steady and dominating force at the top of the presidential pack in the markets since immediately after the 2012 election. She currently is given a 72 percent chance of winning the nomination by PredictWise, with Vice President Joe Biden, who is still pondering a possible bid, in second at 14 percent. In search warrant affidavits filed earlier this year targeting three birth tourism businesses catering to Chinese women, agents wrote that would-be mothers were coached to lie on visa applications about the purpose and length of their stay.

Chen, director of advocacy for the American Immigration Lawyers Assn., said the political debate was incorrectly portraying the birth tourism problem as a gaping loophole in immigration law. In 2013, after media coverage of a Chino Hills maternity hotel triggered an increase in complaints, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors stepped up inspections and citations. Through September of that year, county officials identified 28 maternity hotels, most in Rowland Heights and a few in Hacienda Heights, and shut down 18 of them. The Department of Regional Planning concluded that an ordinance specifically directed at the hotels was unnecessary because most were in single-family residential areas where the current zoning code already prohibits them. In 2013, then-Assemblyman Curt Hagman (R-Chino Hills) proposed classifying the operation of hotels in a residential zone as a misdemeanor punishable by steep fines.

Last year, Chino Hills City Councilman Ed Graham asked the city to explore stronger restrictions on boarding houses, but the ordinance has not been brought to a vote. But his legal status didn’t protect his father from deportation a few years ago. “That’s the case for thousands of kids who grew up like me,” said Jaimes, who is now a policy analyst for United We Dream, which advocates for the rights of young immigrants.

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