Despite dire warnings from the Republican National Committee, a slew of Republican presidential hopefuls have veered to the right and have alienated Latino voters. In an attempt to win an aging, isolated constituency that is increasingly afraid of technological, economic, social, and demographic change, the candidates have become enamored with the idea of overturning birthright citizenship in this country.
The lesser candidates have followed front-runner Donald Trump’s nativist and xenophobic rhetoric while Floridians Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush have shown moderation, which is not surprising given their family histories. Rubio is the son of Cuban exiles and Bush’s wife was a Mexican national, which would in a very real way make Rubio and Bush’s children—including George P. Bush, Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office—anchor babies themselves. Interestingly, Jeb Bush used the term anchor baby and in a testy exchange with reporters refused to concede that the term was offensive. He pushed the media to develop a better term but ultimately concluded that “I think that people born in this country ought to be American citizens.” Rubio answered Bush’s urging to develop a better term by calling them “human beings with stories” and not just statistics.