Government Seeks to Curtail Birth Tourism
The U.S. Constitution clearly states that anybody born on U.S. soil, is an American citizen. It does not say that the child being born has to live in America.
Many people are concerned about the rise of what is known as “birth tourism”: People who are pregnant travelling to America to have their babies born on U.S. Soil, thus qualifying them for US. Citizenship. Those babies are sometimes called the derogatory and insulting term “anchor babies.”
Airlines Testing Passengers
Some foreign airlines, in cooperation with the United States, have even required passengers to take pregnancy tests to curtail the practice of birth tourism. In one instance a woman was stopped at an airline check in counter, because she had the “body size/shape” of someone who is pregnant. After being forced to take a pregnancy test that came up negative, the passenger was allowed to board.
Government Passes New Rules
That airline has stopped its detention and forced testing of passengers, but the U.S. government is continuing its efforts to stop the practice, by requiring that United States embassies overseas deny visas and other tourism or travel documents to anybody they suspect is coming to the United States for the sole purpose of having a baby on United States soil.
The policy contains an exception for those coming to give birth in the United States for medical reasons or because the infant mortality rate in their home country is poor. Still, many are concerned that too many people seeking legitimate entry into the United States to have a safe childbirth will be turned away, thus leading to infant mortality and potentially, the death of mothers.
It is generally presumed under the new rule that anybody who is pregnant and seeking to come to America is coming here for birth tourism. People who are pregnant must provide documentation refuting that presumption or risk being denied entry into the United States.
The rule also will require applicants seeking to enter the U.S. to give birth for medical reasons to show that they have the ability and intent to pay for their medical expenses, and must demonstrate that there is a doctor that has been arranged to provide for their treatment.
Critics Say Policy Hurts Women
Critics of the new rule also point out that it is one that squarely targets women, who already have difficulty in obtaining immigration and travel permission documents, especially in countries where women do not have equal rights.
Estimates of how many babies of visitors to the U.S. are born are hard to obtain. The last count, in 2017, showed about 10,000 babies born on U.S. soil who could have been birthed by those who lived outside of the country.
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