Laurie Toby Edison

Photographer

“Anchor Babies”: Where are the Real Children?

Laurie and Debbie say:

Maegan La Mala at Vivirlatino has a short and powerful rant about “anchor babies”:

… how women of color, women like me and so many of my hermanas and vecinas, are being talked about instead of talked with or listened to. How our wombs are worded as weapons of mass destruction and our beautiful babies as objects stuck into the earth to keep us here. This dehumanization of some Latina mujeres cuerpos (because let’s keep it real, not all mujer Latina cuerpos can/will have babies pero they still are mujer Latina bodies) and the life that comes from those bodies is what allows hate crimes to go unpunished, what allows the separation of mother from child to be ok, and what allows violence against immigrant mujeres to be ignored.

… this comes down to where ethnicity and gender meet. That now Latina mujer = anchor baby factory.

If you’re not caught up with this particular piece of lunacy, some members of the Republican party (including Senator Lindsay Graham from South Carolina and Senator John Kyl from Georgia) are seriously calling for the repeal of the Fourteenth Amendment, which provides that children born in the U.S. are U.S. citizens. The amendment was drafted to make former slaves into citizens, and it also provides citizenship to the children born in the United States whose parents are not citizens.

“Anchor babies” is the catchword of the movement to repeal this amendment. It’s defined as Latina immigrants having babies (often referred to by those opposed to automatic citizenship as “dropping” babies) for the purpose of securing their place in the United States. These babies, so the argument goes, are being conceived and born for the wealth of social services and support they receive in the U.S., and to help their parents fight deportation attempts.

It’s painful even to have to repeat the truth: most parents, regardless of race, economic status, or citizenship, love their babies and their children. If an illegal immigrant really wants to stay in the United States, there are cheaper and less demanding ways to try to become a citizen. People have kids where they live, where their lives are centered.

Of course, the issue isn’t about babies. Politicians may kiss babies, but (as a group) they put their agendas and their careers ahead of the needs of real babies and children. They just use babies as symbols for whatever causes they either believe in or think will get them re-elected. Most often, the dehumanized babies and children are white, and are used as objects we must protect:

We can’t have gay marriage, because our children will be exposed to the evil of gayness. (Translation: I believe gayness is evil.) We can’t let our children be exposed to Hallowe’en celebrations, because that’s Satanism. (Translation: Witches threaten my religious beliefs.)

The “anchor baby” catch phrase is the opposite side of the same coin, using brown babies and children as fear objects: we can’t have brown babies and children getting services in our hospitals and schools because then they will overrun us and bankrupt us. (Translation: I don’t want to live a world in which most people aren’t white.)

The “anchor baby” almost certainly can’t repeal the amendment. Nonetheless, if they make much headway they can still endanger a lot of individual lives of real babies and children and mothers and fathers.

It’s no coincidence that all of these uses of babies as devices come from the same people who vehemently oppose the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which the United States has not endorsed … because they’re not interested in supporting laws that outlaw violence against children, and the abuse of children.

Maegan at Vivirlatino knows about the real children who are endangered by this movement:

What I worry about, as this rhetoric keeps building, is what about the babies, the children. How can we guarantee their safety?

2 Responses to ““Anchor Babies”: Where are the Real Children?”

  1. Tweets that mention Body Impolitic - Blog Archive - » “Anchor Babies”: Where are the Real Children? - Laurie Toby Edison: Photographer -- Topsy.com Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Vivir Latino, Vivir Latino. Vivir Latino said: Mil gracias for the shoutout and quote love Body Impolitic http://ow.ly/2oNj8 [...]

  2. D. Says:

    Yanno, that kind of makes my mother an “anchor baby,” because Grandma may not have been a citizen just then.

    This quasi-nativist crap gets recycled with each immigrant wave. It is still crap. It will always be crap. And it isn’t even good for the crops.

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