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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

American Heritage Dictionary Will Now Properly Label Term "Anchor Baby"

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Last week ImmigrationImpact blogged that the well known American Heritage Dictionary added the term "Anchor Baby" to its dictionary without noting the terribly offensive nature of the term (I delete posts where people use the term as I consider it a slur). According to II, the definition reads



anchor baby n. A child born to a noncitizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially such a child born to parents seeking to secure eventual citizenship for themselves and often other members of their family.



The blog rightly noted that the term never had a neutral meaning and has always been used in a political context. And thanks to ImmigrationImpact's advocacy, the editors of American Heritage have backed off:



In response to ImmigrationImpact.com's critique of the definition of "anchor baby" included in the latest edition of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the executive editor of the dictionary has agreed to revise the definition of to reflect the derogatory nature of the term. In conversations with Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center, Executive Editor Steven Kleinedler promised a swift and careful revision of the term. Mr. Kleinedler noted that the editors are already undergoing further review on how the term is commonly used and said "we will be adding a label to the term, either derogatory or offensive, which I acknowledge should have been done in the first place, and we will determine how to revise the definition. Then on Monday we begin making the actual change--first on the website, and then we begin propagating the change out to the electronic products and in the next printing."




Well done!

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  1. gg's Avatar
    Democratic and Republican senators file legislation to create guest worker program for undocumented in respective states



    http://ag.ca.gov/cms_attachments/initiatives/pdfs/i1033_11-0089_%28payment_of_state_income_taxes%29.pdf

    http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=336&articleid=20111205_336_0_OKLAHO74062
  2. Jack's Avatar
    How about...

    anchor baby n. (slang) A child born to a noncitizen mother in a country (especially U.S.A.) that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil. [Typically used by those who oppose illegal immigration]

    I think it's a little too specific about seeking citizenship when the "anchor" reference is more generally about making it easier to remain in the U.S., not necessarily securing citizenship. It's kind of hard to elegantly get all of that into a short definition and thus explanation of the anchor analogy might be omitted.


    More on California's immigration scheme:

    http://www.sacbee.com/2011/12/03/4096622/initiative-would-give-callifornia.html

    It's author, Felipe Fuentes, refers to it as "moderate"!
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