Trump’s Next Immigration Target: Dismantling Birth Tourism
Written by Luis Miguel
The Trump administration is reportedly planning to go ahead with a new rule aiming to stop birth tourism, the practice in which pregnant foreign women come to the United States with the intention of giving birth here so their children will be born as U.S. citizens.
Three administration officials told Axios that the change sought by the administration would alter requirements for B visas, also known as visitor visas, granting officials the authority to deny short-term business and tourism visas if they think the process will be used as part of an automatic citizenship scheme.
One senior official said that consular officers who issue visas “are remarkably skilled at sussing out true versus false claims.”
“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” the official added. “Just the legal recognition that this is improper and wrong and not allowed is a significant step forward.”
The plans to deal with B visa use for purposes of birth tourism were included in the most recent version of the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. Immigration experts anticipate the establishment of a similar rule for Customs and Border Protection to go along with the State Department regulation.
Some, such as former U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Chief Counsel Lynden Melmed and former State Department Chief Legal Advisor Jeffrey Gorsky, say the administration may put itself on shaky legal ground if it tries to keep out pregnant women visiting the U.S. for non-birth tourism reasons, such as for business.
But Melmed also notes that if the regulation merely leaves it at the discretion of officers to keep B visas from being used for birth tourism, it would be difficult for opponents to make a viable challenge in court.
Sarah Pierce of the Migration Policy Institute notes that “State Department officials have all the discretion in the world to deny people visas,” and that foreign nationals living outside the United States who have not yet received visas “don’t have a lot of legal standing.”
Gorsky said it would be difficult to crack down on birth tourism only by screening out pregnant women, as most women already have a visa when they decide to come to the U.S. to give birth.
“The underlying practical issue is that very few people who give birth in the U.S. got a visa for that specific purpose. Most people already have visas and come in later,” he said.
The administration cites national security concerns as one motive for cracking down on the practice of birth tourism.
“This change is intended to address the national security and law enforcement risks associated with birth tourism, including criminal activity associated with the birth tourism industry,” one State Department official told Axios.
Detractors of the president’s immigration agenda argue that birth tourism schemes are rare and should not be considered a high priority threat to national security.
“They’re embellishing the national security implications dramatically,” said John Cohen, a former senior Homeland Security official under Obama. “Portraying birth tourism as a top tier national security issue is dishonest.”
The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that around 33,000 children are born in the U.S. to foreign visitors every year.
The author of this article lived several years in the Mexican border town of Tijuana. During that time, he witnessed birth tourism as a common phenomenon among the many Tijuana residents holding visitors visas. According to the Associated Press, birth tourists also come to the United States from China, Russia, and Nigeria.
Birth tourism is possible owing to the current American practice of birthright citizenship, under which anyone born within the United States is automatically granted citizenship.
Defenders of birthright citizenship say it is enshrined within the 14th Amendment, but a careful reading of the text reveals that the amendment guarantees citizenship to those born within the United States who are “subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” which would exclude illegal nonresident aliens — who are subject to the jurisdiction of their home nations.
President Trump has spoken in favor of ending birthright citizenship. Many of his efforts on immigration, however, have been halted by injunctions from federal judges, such as his executive order allowing states to refuse refugees and his administration’s rule that green cards not be granted to immigrants likely to become reliant on welfare.
Nearly 400,000 “anchor babies” were born to illegal aliens and legal foreign nationals (foreign tourists, visa workers, and foreign students) in 2019 — a figure that surpasses the birthrate in most states.
Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Thomas Homan has called birthright citizenship a major “driver” of illegal immigration, saying migrants view it as “their golden ticket to come to the United States.”
“If the message we want to send to the rest of the world is: enter this country illegally, have a U.S. citizen child and you’re free to go, then we’re never going to solve the border crisis,” Homan concluded.
Luis Miguel is a writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.
Courtesy of The New American