Bush used the term last week in an interview with conservative radio host Bill Bennett in reference to "birth tourism," which is the growing phenomenon of groups of Chinese women paying agencies to bring them to the U.S. to have their babies so that they can grow up as American citizens.
"If there's fraud or if there's abuse, if people are bringing pregnant women ... to have babies simply because they can do it, then there ought to be greater enforcement," he said to Bennett. "That's the legitimate side of this. Better enforcement so that you don't have these, you know, 'anchor babies,' as they're described, coming into the country."
Bush clarified his position on a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border Monday, during which he met with local leaders to discuss his immigration and border security platform.
“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,” he said.
When a reporter asked him if he thought his use of the term "anchor baby" would hurt his support among Hispanic and Latino voters, he dismissed the question:“Nothing about what I said should be viewed as derogatory toward immigrants at all,” he said.