AAJA Encourages News Media to Exercise Care in the Use of “Anchor Babies”

We understand the media have a duty to report what political candidates say, even when they use a derogatory term.

But we at the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) encourage our colleagues in the news media to exercise care and sensitivity in the use of “anchor babies” to describe children born to undocumented immigrants in the United States.

The term is derisive and demeaning, especially to the children being described. While media organizations must accurately report and quote candidates or any relevant news source — reporters and editors can, and should, limit to direct quotes the use of the term in their coverage.

News reports should provide clarity. They could describe these children as “children born in the U.S. to non-citizens” or as “citizens by birth.”

Stories could also clarify that it is not illegal for non-citizens to give birth in the United States and that parents of these children do not automatically qualify for U.S. citizenship.

AAJA MediaWatch Committee