In the book Anchor Babies and the Challenge of Birthright Citizenship, the anthropologist [UCI Distinguished Professor] Leo Chavez tracked the term’s appearance in both coasts’ papers of record, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. “Anchor babies” never cropped up until the early 2000s. “That practice of targeting people who really are members of your society historically and legally and marking them as different allows you to do incredibly awful things to them,” Chavez said. They suffered psychological terror caused by the same fears that their families experienced, he said.

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