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The term "anchor baby" is a myth

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According to a recent Huffington Post piece, Thursday afternoon, Viviana Herviz-Vasquez received a call from her husband, Christian.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. federal immigration agency, had deported him to Mexico that day.  

Viviana is a U.S. citizen, while Christian is an undocumented immigrant.  Their three children were all born in the U.S.

Harris-Vazquez was taken by federal immigration agents, for a 2010 DUI conviction.  Viviana said, “They came to pick him up on July 14 on his way to work. It was a regular day.  They told him he had a deportation order, which he got in 2012 but we didn’t even know about that. We’ve lived here for three years and we never received anything and don’t even know how he got that. Before we could even start the paperwork [for his green card], he was detained.”

With G.O.P candidates following the strong stance of Donald Trump on immigration, many have started using the term “anchor babies.”  This phrase is often used to describe children born in the U.S. to foreign parents, who could potentially help relatives attain U.S. citizenship.  

Mr. Hervis-Vazquez is among roughly 9 million people who live in mixed-immigration status families.  Many of these people face the possibility of their families being torn apart.  

High school teacher, Reyna Montoya, lives in such a family.  She and her brother are undocumented workers that were granted temporary work authorization from President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  Her 8-year-old sister is a U.S. citizen, while her parents are both undocumented.   

Montoya’s father was arrested by ICE officials for illegal re-entry while on his return from a 2012 business trip to Puerto Rico.  He was released on bond in 2013 following nine months in immigration detention.  

Montoya said, “He has court again next year so we don’t know what’s going to happen.  Now we’re just waiting for someone to decide what gets to happen to your family. That person has so much power about what could happen and the implications of our family if my dad gets deported. Going to see my dad wouldn’t be possible unless he’s dying. Is my 8-year-old sister going to visit my dad on her own?”

Through the DACA program, Montoya is allowed limited international travel.  DACA also allows certain people advanced parole to the leave the country for business, education, and also to see dying family members.  

In reference to the use of the term “anchor babies,” Viviana said, “I just think it’s unfair and uncalled for and disrespectful.  No one should be discriminated against for where they come from.”

Jeb Bush has claimed that “anchor babies” is more of an idea for Asian people.  21-year-old DACA beneficiary, Bati,  came to the U.S. when he was 10 years old from Mongolia.  Both of Bati’s parents are undocumented workers that face long hours of low pay.  

Talking about his parents, Bati said, “They’re afraid of going to the hospital and afraid of the police stopping them.  If they’re deported, it’ll be me and my brother.”

In reference to the concept of his brother being an “anchor baby,” he went on to say, “Why would somebody who comes into this country have a kid just to become a citizen in 21 years and even then wait ten years to become a citizen? That argument doesn’t really make sense. People come to the country to start a family. There’s no external motive.”

Montoya later said, “When they talk about ‘anchor babies,’ they’re talking about my sister.  We left Mexico because we were running away from all the violence, the drugs, the cartels that was happening there. What does an anchor actually mean? It really hits home and seeing my siblings’ faces and knowing that they’re being called these names. This is their country and they’re not any less American than Donald Trump.”

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