Protesters greet Jeb Bush in Englewood over ‘anchor babies’ comments

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush took part in a town hall meeting on Tuesday morning, but was also met by a group of protesters.

Bush held the town hall to discuss veterans affairs at the VFW Post in Englewood. But a big demonstration was planned across the street.

The protesters are upset that Bush and other Republican presidential candidates have used the term "anchor babies" over the past couple of weeks.

Bush has used the term in stops around the country when discussing immigration. It describes the children who are born on U.S. soil to parents who have come to the country illegally.

But the term "anchor babies" is considered offensive to many Latinos.

On Monday, Bush tried to clean up controversy over his use of the term "anchor babies" last week, but instead found himself in another mess after he said the offensive term was "frankly, more related to Asian people."

Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii called on the Republican presidential candidate to "immediately retract his statements and apologize to the Asian community for his insensitive behavior."

Bush's comments "regarding the children of Asian immigrants are derogatory and offensive," Schatz said in a statement.

It started when the former Florida governor visited McAllen, Texas, located near the U.S.-Mexico border, and defended his use of the term "anchor baby."

Bush argued he has been "immersed in the immigrant experience" personally -- his wife is from Mexico -- and said it's "ludicrous" for Democrats to say he was using the word in a derogatory fashion.

"This is ludicrous for the (Hillary) Clinton campaign and others to suggest that somehow, somehow I am using a derogatory term," Bush said. "What I was talking about was the specific case of fraud being committed, where there's organized efforts.

"And frankly it's more related to Asian people coming into our country, having children in that organized efforts, taking advantage of a noble concept, which is birthright citizenship. I support the 14th Amendment."

Campaign spokeswoman Kristy Campbell later clarified that Bush was referring to widely reported federal investigations into "birth tourism."

In March, The New York Times reported federal agents raided three businesses in Southern California that arranged for pregnant Chinese women to come to the United States on a tourist visa, give birth, then obtain birth certificates and U.S. passports for their newborns.

"The next president must have a plan to secure our borders and enforce our immigration laws," Campbell said in a statement. "Gov. Bush is the only candidate in the entire presidential field who has presented a serious, conservative, comprehensive reform agenda to fix our broken immigration system."

Pro-Clinton Democratic groups American Bridge and Correct the Record were quick to pounce on his word choice of "Asian people," and sought to paint Bush as insensitive at a time when Republicans are trying to broaden its base and become more inclusive.

Bush earlier argued that Democratic attacks against him over semantics amount to nothing more than political correctness.

"I think we all need to take a step back and chill out a little bit as it relates to the political correctness, that somehow you have to be scolded every time you say something," Bush said.

On Tuesday, Bush's chief rival, Donald Trump, mocked Bush on Twitter over the "anchor babies" comment.

The town hall begins at 8:30 a.m. at the VFW Post 9644 at 2680 W. Hampden Ave.

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