Breaking rank with an organization that he helped launch, Jeb Bush told reporters on Thursday that he doesn't think the term "anchor babies" is offensive.
"Do you have a better term?" he asked. "You give me a better term and I'll use it." One person willing to share some suggestions was Hillary Clinton, who tweeted, "How about 'babies,' 'children,' or 'American citizens.'"
"Anchor babies" has been used to refer to people who come to the U.S. without documents and give birth so their child can have citizenship. The Hispanic Leadership Network, a group working to increase support for the GOP among Latino voters, has told Republican lawmakers discussing immigration reform to avoid terms like "anchor babies," "illegals," and "aliens." Bush helped launch the organization, The Washington Post reports, and is still listed on its website as a member of the national advisory board.
Bush first uttered the words Wednesday during a radio interview when asked about fellow Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's use of the term. Bush said he "didn't use it as my own language," and claimed that concerns about the term are "a political wedge issue the left uses to win elections."