The Dehumanizing Term "Anchor Baby" Part of a Reactionary Assault on American Values

Those who use the term are dead-set against a key provision of the Constitution.

I've come to expect figures like William Gheen of ALIPAC to completely strip an entire subset of people from their humanity with their words.  It becomes grating to my ears when an elected official does so.  Even more so when they dehumanize the very people they were elected to represent. 

Watch the video above to see Republican incumbent Virgil Goode (VA-5th District) debate Democrat challenger Tom Perriello on the "anchor baby situation".  I've transcribed a great deal of the video below.

There is so much wrong with what Goode says, but I'm going to try and cut to the heart of it.  

Five times he uses the term "anchor baby" with dehumanizing phrases like "say no to the anchor baby".  An "anchor baby", for those of you that don't know, is a child born of migrants in the U.S. who, through the 14 amendment of the U.S. constitution, is automatically a U.S. citizen.

Nativists try to make this seem like an abomination, but challenging this is an afront to the very concept of U.S. citizenship.  To oppose it, is the difference between the philosophical concepts of "jus soli" and "jus sanguinis", or the "the right of soil" vs. "the right of blood". 

Virgil Goode is essentially arguing for "the right of blood" an antiquated concept whereby nationality is not determined by place of birth, but by ancestry.  It's the equivalent of a feudal philosophy whereby your privileges are passed onto you by your parents.  Not only does it undercut a central tenet of U.S. citizenship, but it also undercuts the idea that everyone should be born equal.

I go into this explanation, because I don't think people realize what a radical affront to the United States people like Virgil Goode are.  These are not people on the lunatic fringe.  H.R. 1940 or the "Birthright Citizenship Act of 2007" claims 104 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives (that's out of 435 for those that are counting). 

Congressman like Virgil Goode like to claim that they are for enforcing the laws that are on the books, but in reality they are in favor of a radical re-ordering of judicial philosophy of the United States as we know it.  This nativist movement, led by members of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, is on par, perhaps even surpassing, the Know Nothing movement of mid 19th-century.  People don't see the extent to which this movement has polluted the U.S. government because these politicians still have D's or R's next to their name.  If decent people don't rise-up against this movement the United States will be gone as they know it.

What is most disgraceful about congresmman like Virgil Goode is that when they rail against anchor babies, they are dehumanizing the very people that they were elected to represent.  Even if they succeed in the radical reordoring of the concept of U.S. citizenship and the U.S. constitution, they cannot very well retroactively deny citizenship to the "anchor babies" that were already born in the U.S.  Like it or not they are here to stay.  Like it or not, congressman is elected to represent those "anchor babies".

He uses the term "anchor baby" because he doesn't want his constituents to know that when he says things like:
They cost us money...They cost taxpayers. They cost our government.  The cost local government.  They cost the state...A huge cost.  I laid out the cost on food stamps.  I laid out the cost on [Supplemental Security Income].  I laid out how they get free Medicaid.

Congressman Virgil Goode doesn't want you to know that he's talking about U.S. citizens here.  He's complaining about how much it costs to feed, clothe, treat, house, and educate U.S. citizens.  You see unauthorized migrants are inelligible for much of these public programs so nativists need another scapegoat to make it seem like this is a bigger economic problem than it really is.  So they pick on the children of unauthorized migrants, which are U.S. citizens.

Even worse, the audience gave him thunderous applaus upon hearing this.  When we have gotten to a point in the U.S. where people applaud eliminating the cost of giving U.S. citizens the opportunity at a decent life, or life even, it should be enough to get you to rise up and stand against this.  Nativists can pretend these people aren't U.S. citizens all they want, but their here to stay.  And if the U.S. doesn't educate, feed, clothe, and house them, you can bet that they'll be a greater burden on the U.S. and the world than they ever were before.

This affront to the U.S. has inspired me to create my very first ActBlue page for Tom Periello in opposition to Virgil Goode.

Below is the transcript of the video above:
Virgil Goode: Only those who want to coddle and cater to the illegals say that they are beneficial to the workforce.  They cost us money, as I outlined in the previous questions.  They cost taxpayers.  They cost our government.  They cost local government. 

They cost the state. 

And I gave you one very specific: the anchor baby.  Which means you come over in this country, have a kid, and the kid's an automatic citizen.  A huge cost.  I laid out the cost on food stamps.  I laid out the cost on SSI.  I laid out how they get free Medicaid.  There's legislation right now in Congress which I have co-sponsored repeatedly over my entire tenure in the house to fix this. 

There's not going to be a consensus in congress to fix the anchor baby situation until you get more persons like me who are willing to say no to the anchor baby.  And no to the Nancy Pelosi's of this Congress, who depends on the Hispanic Caucus, telling it exactly like it is.  The Hispanic Caucus is a key ingredient in her claim to power.  She's not going to buckle.  They want to give the illegals a glide path to citizenship.  That's what amnesty is. 

The American public -- and my opponent won't endorse me on this bill.  I would like to hear him come out and say, "Virgil Goode is exactly right about ending anchor babies."  That's one way, a small way, to help the existing problem.  He and the Democratic leadership in the House need to get on board with the American people and say no to anchor babies.


But you don't have blanket anchor babies occuring day in and day out and having the taxpayers continue to foot the bill.   They come in from Mexico, Guatemala, Salvador, and have them in this country.  It's a huge impact on California hospitals, Arizona hospitals, New Mexico hospitals, and Texas hospitals.


Tom Pereillo: Well first of all let's talk about the bill.  This was not a Nancy Pelosi problem.  And as much as you may think otherwise I'm actually not Nancy Pelosi up here.  The fact is under a Republican led Congress, your bill generated no more than 47 supporters.  You couldn't even get it out of committee when the Republicans controlled Congress. 

So let's not get up here and talk about things that are going to happen if McCain wins or Obama wins.  You're own Presidential man who you've stood by several times tonight doesn't support this bill.  So anyone who wants to vote on this issue should be well aware that there is exactly zero chance of motion on any sort of bill of this effect.


Virgil Goode: And I'm going to go back to that.  That was a smooth answer by him.  And in fact he was saying, "I'm not with ya."  He's against ending the anchor baby situation because he wants you to buy into the notion that it can't be stopped. 

What we need is not people who are going to cave in and surrender under a notion: it can't happen.  In my view, those who support ending the anchor baby situation are right.  George Bush is wrong.  Nancy Pelosi is wrong.  And Barack Obama is wrong.  Virgil Goode and the 40 who signed the bill are right, and we are standing up for the United States of America and proud to do so. (thunderous applause)

Kyle de Beausset is the founder of Citizen Orange.