Curt Hagman

The loaded term 'anchor baby' conceals complex issues

The loaded term 'anchor baby' conceals complex issues

Donald Trump proudly throws it around. Jeb Bush stumbled over it. And Hillary Clinton and other Democrats have decried it.

The loaded term "anchor babies" has become a lightning rod of the 2016 presidential campaign.

It is used as a pejorative, often meant to conjure images of women crossing the U.S.-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). Bush gave the term another twist this week when he defended its use, then said, "Frankly, it's more related to Asian people."

The impulses driving immigrants to have children in the...