Dictionary's 'Anchor Baby' Decision Is Definition of Foolish

After receiving a complaint from the Immigration Policy Center, an organization known for its open-borders and amnesty agenda, the American Heritage Dictionary redefined the term “anchor baby” as an offensive term, admitting they had made a mistake.

Translation: the American Heritage Dictionary capitulated to a small, but vocal, special interest group that is trying to manipulate the political, legal, cultural and linguistic landscape on behalf of illegal aliens.

The American Heritage Dictionary is trailing only slightly behind major newspapers in redefining words to fit politically correct molds, surrendering the language to drive political goals, and affixing inflammatory connotations to words and phrases used in policy discussions with which they disagree. Thus, to promote precision and clarity, and liberate healthy free speech, we have provided a handy reference guide to the three most common words and phrases in the immigration debate.

The American Heritage Directory’s new definition of “anchor baby” reads as:

"Offensive - Used as a disparaging term for a child born to a non-citizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially when the child's birthplace is thought to have been chosen in order to improve the mother's or other relatives' chances of securing eventual citizenship."

Is that really an impartial dictionary definition? Or, is it a subtle editorial about the aspirations of illegal aliens and an ominous warning to those would dare to use such a “disparaging” term while trying to address the escalating problems of unchecked illegal immigration?

The offensive aspect of “anchor baby” isn’t the term itself, but the practice of having children on U.S. soil for the sheer purpose of gaming the system.

The birthright citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment was originally meant to provide fair and due citizenship to newly freed slaves after the Civil War. Now, however, it is used and abused by illegal aliens and non-immigrants to unfairly gain citizenship for their children. At least 363,000 babies are born in the U.S. every year to illegal aliens, 1 in every 12 births nationwide.

The publisher’s definition also affixes a motive to the term suggesting that having an anchor baby helps the mother stay with a hint of covert endorsement that it should.

It’s best for a dictionary to simply describe the “what” as opposed to the “why.” After all, the American Heritage Dictionary defines a “burglar” is “someone who commits burglary. It does not amend the definition with “for the purpose of feeding his/her kids.”

If the American Heritage Dictionary can buckle so easily in this instance to politically correct dictum demanded by special interests, what’s the next taboo word, phrase or thought?

At this rate, the two other commonly used terms in immigration - “illegal alien” and “amnesty” – may also be at risk of being labeled as offensive or euphemized into semantic pabulum.

“Illegal alien” is a descriptive term, but quickly being replaced by “undocumented workers.” Amnesty advocates believe that using the adjective “undocumented” magically erases the illegality, while claiming they are “workers” suggests all are gainfully employed, which they’re often not. The proper reference is “illegal aliens.” “Illegal” means prohibited by law. Yes, entry without inspection into the U.S is prohibited. And “alien” is a term defined in 8 U.S.C. Section 1101 and used by legal professionals across the board including the United States Supreme Court. It’s ok to say illegal aliens.

“Amnesty” is another descriptive term but has been substituted for “path to citizenship.” Euphemisms for amnesty wear thin quickly so even this new phrase is giving way to “earned legalization.” We already have a “path to citizenship” and it starts with applying for a green card and getting in line.

“Earned legalization” is kind of crafty. It implies that as long as illegal aliens actually have to do something, no matter how inconsequential like paying a modest fine, it is not really amnesty. Beware of both phrases.

Substitute the word “amnesty” and describe it as “rewarding those who have broken the law.”

By politicizing the term “anchor baby” and making a moral judgment about its use, the American Heritage Dictionary has become willing partner in the illegal alien lobby’s quest to create toxic words that intimidate users and stifle debate.

Here’s another word – “objective.” The American Heritage Dictionary should look that up.

Bob Dane is Communications Director, Federation for American Immigration Reform.