While discussing a state-funded children’s insurance program at a Fiscal Review Committee meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, Republican state Rep. Curry Todd, likened undocumented immigrants to rats.
“They can go out there like rats and multiply then, I guess” Todd mumbled in to a microphone. He was upset that the state’s CoverKids program that provides free health coverage to children under the age 18 was not verifying the immigration statuses of pregnant women.
Todd specifically wanted to know if program administrators demanded “proof that you are here legally before you can get assistance.” CoverKids administrators explained federal law prohibits them from asking pregnant women to produce proof of citizenship before receiving prenatal care because their unborn children would, by law, be considered U.S. citizens.
According to the Associated Press no other Fiscal Review Committee member responded to the remarks.
When contacted by The AP on Wednesday, Todd expressed some regret and said using the term “anchor babies” probably would have been more “palatable.”