Last month, ThinkProgress reported that Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) went on Fox Business News to make the wild claim that pregnant Middle Eastern women are traveling to the U.S. to have babies who will automatically become U.S. citizens and later return here when they are older to “blow us up.”
While Gohmert’s allegations went uncontested on Fox, CNN’s Anderson Cooper has begun looking into them, after hosting state Rep. Debbie Riddle (R-TX) on his show a few days ago, who similarly argued that pregnant foreign women are having babies in the U.S. “with the nefarious purpose of turning them into little terrorists, who will then come back to the U.S. and do us harm.” The next day, Cooper spoke with Tom Fuentes, the FBI’s former assistant director in the office of international operations, who affirmed that “[t]here was never a credible report — or any report, for that matter — coming across through all the various mechanisms of communication to indicate that there was such a plan for these terror babies to be born.”
Last night, Cooper invited Gohmert on his show to defend his accusations. However, Gohmert still could not provide a shred of evidence, instead citing his record as a former judge and asserting that terrorists aren’t “stupid.” Gohmert insulted Cooper’s reporting and accused him of being offensive:
COOPER: The FBI says this is just not happening. You are spreading scare stories, and this is completely about politics.
GOHMERT: It is happening. It is happening.
COOPER: Where? Give me some evidence. Tell me one person, one terror baby that’s been born? Can you tell me?
GOHMERT: The explosions will not happen for 10 or 15 or 20 years and then you will be one of those blips. I’m not comparable to Winston Churchill, but the detractors like you are comparable to his detractors. [...] Anderson, do you really believe that the ones that want to destroy the United States are more stupid than these entrepreneurs in China, than these people in Mexico? [...] And I bet you, on 9/10, he were to come on your show and say there is no credible report of a plan to take down the World Trade Centers, because he didn’t have one.
COOPER: OK. So, you don’t believe the FBI when they currently say there is no credible report?
GOHMERT: — taking shots at me and look at the gaping hole in the security of this country. I’m an easy target, and you and Jon Stewart can have your fun. But please, at some point, look at the gaping hole in our security.
It didn’t come up this time, but Gohmert initially brought up the “terror babies” allegations to argue that the 14th Amendment, which grants automatic citizenship upon birth in the U.S., should be changed to deny that right. As ThinkProgress previously pointed out, the process to obtain a legal tourist visa to the U.S. is rigorous. Applicants must provide evidence which shows the purpose of the trip, submit fingerprints and photographs, and undergo an interview by a visa officer at the U.S. Embassy. And while there are certainly immigrant woman — both documented and undocumented — who have babies in the U.S. who become American citizens, the purpose of their presence in the country is usually to work and is unrelated to obtaining any sort of special status, let alone breeding terrorists.