Texas ‘terror baby’ Rep. Riddle muddled on anchor baby concept

Texas state Rep. Debbie Riddle is making national news for advancing the “terror baby” concept, in which terrorists are said to be coming to the U.S. to give birth to babies who are born citizens and then taking the babies away to train them as terrorists and then sending them back as adults with their U.S. passports to commit acts of terror. It is, even as theory, an inefficient plan. Like Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, another popularizer of the “terror baby” theory, Riddle is less than persuasive. As has been widely reported, Riddle went on CNN last week to talk about the supposed terror baby threat and brought zero evidence to help sell her point. Unnamed “former FBI agents,” she said, informed her office of the threat.

Also hobbling her credibility is that, even though she has set herself up as an anti-illegal immigration warrior, she is clearly muddled on the concept of “anchor babies.” She seems to think an “anchor baby” is merely a child born to illegal immigrants in order to take advantage of U.S. health care and government benefits.

At about 8 minutes into the above video, Riddle helpfully tells Anderson Cooper that “If they are over here illegally, they are not here legally. If they are over here legally, whether they’re working or not, and they have a baby, then that would come under the term ‘anchor baby,’ and that is what we’re talking about. That is breaking the back of the American taxpayers.”

That’s heavy on scary slogans but lean on facts. A so-called anchor baby is meant to “anchor” the undocumented family he or she is born into by giving the parents and other family members a more solid legal case to stay in the country. The evidence of such a “anchor baby” strategy being taken up in any systematic way by illegal immigrants in any significant number and being at all effective is also at this point less than convincing.

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