With 'anchor baby' slur, Trump strikes again

Republican presidential candidate Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' MORE has settled his $500 million lawsuit against the Spanish-language TV network Univision, after they dumped his Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants over his anti-immigrant remarks. Although terms of the settlement were not disclosed, Trump said in a statement released by Univision, "I have known Univision's President and CEO, Randy Falco, for more than 20 years and I'm glad we are able to put these differences behind us."


If only he had stopped there. But being Trump, of course, he didn't. In a tweet posted on Saturday, the current GOP front-runner said, "Now that I have settled my litigation with Univision, I look forward to sitting down with their star anchor (not baby) for an interview."

The Donald was referring to Jorge Ramos, Univision's lead anchor, whom Trump infamously tossed out of a news conference last year — as well as to the derogatory expression "anchor baby." Although Trump did not directly call Ramos an "anchor baby," his insinuation was deliberate.

"Anchor baby" is a term that is considered "disparaging" by the American Heritage Dictionary. Not only is it offensive to Latinos, it is offensive to immigrants and the children of immigrants. Consider that when former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) used this term last year, he drew criticism from both Latino and Asian-American groups. "Anchor babies" is a racially loaded slur. Its use serves no legitimate purpose, other than to coarsen our already contentious immigration debate.

This slur is also based on a myth. The term "anchor baby" stems from the assumption that having an American-born child can "anchor" an undocumented immigrant in this country. Not true. The Department of Homeland Security routinely deports men and women with American-born kids. Between 2010 and 2012, the United States deported nearly 205,000 parents of citizen kids. In 2013, the U.S. deported more than 72,000 parents with citizen children.

Sure, one of the hallmarks of Trump's political career has been his derogatory remarks about everyone from Latinos to Muslims to disabled people. Yet that doesn't mean we should become desensitized to his bigotry. And the fact that Trump later deleted this tweet does not suffice as an apology.

"Anchor babies," by the way, are American children; the Pew Center estimated that in 2012 there were 4.5 million U.S. citizen children under 18 living here with undocumented parents.

For the record, Ramos is not an "anchor baby." He is a naturalized U.S. citizen. Between his books, newspaper columns, and shows on Univision and the Fusion network, he reaches millions of readers and viewers throughout the U.S. and Latin America.

With his "anchor" tweet, Trump once again flaunts his mean-spirited ignorance. The reference to "anchor baby" is an insult to Ramos – and to millions of American children.

Reyes is an attorney and columnist in New York City. He is also an NBCNews.com contributor.