Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina on Thursday reiterated claims made by her rival Jeb Bush that Asian women sometime come to the U.S. for the purpose of having babies, which then provide them with the rewards of American citizenship, health care and education.
During remarks to the press in Le Mars, Iowa, Fiorina, who has had some momentum in the polls since her well-received debate performance earlier this month, asserted that "there's an industry that has been set up in L.A. where Chinese women come over on a tourist visa and have a baby. This abuse has been going on for a while. We need to stop it."
"We need to stop abuses like this by enforcing the laws we have," she added. "But instead, as unfortunately what happens too often in a political season, everybody tries to distract people from festering problems that have never been solved to talk about something new. Well, let’s talk about birthright citizenship. Let’s talk about something else. We have to fix these problems. It’s ridiculous that women are coming in and doing this. We know it’s happening. Let’s fix it."
Bush on Monday alluded to similar behavior during comments that were intended to diffuse criticism of his use of the controversial term "anchor babies."
“Frankly, it’s more related to Asian people coming into our country, having children in that organized effort taking advantage of a noble concept which is birthright citizenship,” Bush told reporters, a comment which drew harsh criticism from prominent members of the Asian community and 2016 front-runner Donald Trump.
According to Politico, there are some statistics to back up Bush and Fiorina's charges. Federal agents have been cracking down on so-called "birth tourism" in Southern California for years. There are conflicting reports on the number of babies born in the U.S. to foreign mothers visiting the country, but it has been pegged to be in the thousands.
Fiorina, a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, mounted a failed U.S. Senate campaign in California back in 2010. At that time, she supported the DREAM Act, however her support for the polarizing SB-1070 Arizona immigration law may have alienated Latino voters in the deep blue state. In this election cycle, she has seemed relatively moderate compared to some of her GOP competitors on the issue of immigration.
She says she opposes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, however.
“I think legal status is a possibility for sure,” Fiorina said on a June episode of msnbc’s “Morning Joe.” “I think their children maybe can become citizens.”
“But my own view is that it isn’t fair to say to people who have played by the rules … that you know it just doesn’t matter,” she continued.
Fiorina's remarks on Thursday were not her first incendiary comments on China. In a video recorded in Iowa earlier this year that was shared by Buzzfeed in May, the former businesswoman said, “I’ve been doing business in China for decades, and I will tell you that yeah, the Chinese can take a test, but what they can’t do is innovate. They’re not terribly imaginative. They’re not entrepreneurial. They don’t innovate. That’s why they’re stealing our intellectual property.”