Donald Trump calls Republican rival Ted Cruz an 'anchor baby' in attack on Senator's presidential eligibility

'Anchor baby' is a derogatory term referring to illegal immigrants whose children automatically gain US citizenship after being born on American soil

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The Independent US

The Republican presidential front-runner, Donald Trump, has called his closest rival, Ted Cruz, “an anchor baby”, in a fresh attack against the Texas Senator’s eligibility to run for president.

During a campaign rally in Nashua, New Hampshire on Friday, Mr Trump launched the assault against Mr Cruz’s citizenship saying: “Ted Cruz may not be a US citizen, right? But he’s an anchor baby. No. he’s an anchor baby- Ted Cruz is an anchor baby in Canada."

“Anchor baby” is a derogatory term, generally used to refer to illegal immigrants whose children automatically gain US citizenship after being born on American soil, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Intensifying his attacks on Mr Cruz, Mr Trump’s use of the term highlighted the Texas Senator’s birthplace in Canada.

Mr Cruz, who was born in Calgary, Canada, to a Cuban father and American mother - both living legally in the country at that time - is an American citizen by birth. He renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2014.

Cruz campaign spokeswoman, Catherine Frazier, told CNN: “The only anchor here is the one being dragged behind the SS New York Values, causing Donald Trump's campaign to stall out as voters learn about his affinity for Hillary Clinton and his previous statements supporting abortion."

The business mogul has repeatedly lambasted Mr Cruz’s Canadian birth, querying his eligibility to serve as US president.

According to CNN, Mr Trump and a small number of legal scholars have claimed the Constitution’s “natural-born citizen” requirement necessitates the President must be born on US soil. The issue has never been referred to federal court.

Mr Cruz’s campaign said the issue is resolved and the senator is eligible to run, The Wall Street Journal reports.

During the rally Mr Trump also said he made the right decision to boycott Thursday’s GOP debate in Iowa and claimed Mr Cruz “got really pummelled” in his absence.

Mr Trump said: “Actually, I’m glad I wasn’t there ‘cause I guess all of that – he got pummelled, wow. And you know they didn’t even mention he was born in Canada.

“He got beaten up pretty badly last night.”

The business mogul decided to boycott the debate after a feud with Fox News over the debate’s moderator Megyn Kelly.

Support for Mr Cruz in the Iowa GOP caucuses has fallen to 25 per cent support from 32 per cent in early January, according to polls by Real Clear Politics.

Iowa voters will being the 2016 presidential nominations process with Monday's caucuses.