The Trump administration is reportedly preparing to crack down on foreign nationals who visit the United States with the explicit intention to give birth, taking advantage of the country’s birthright citizen laws.
President Donald Trump is expected to roll out changes to visa requirements in the coming days in order to stifle the “birth tourism” industry, in which many pregnant women from across the world enter the U.S. to give birth, according to administration who spoke with Axios. The proposals would be the latest in the administration’s efforts to clamp down on abuse of the U.S. immigration system.
Every year, tens of thousands of foreign visitors enter the U.S. and give birth, taking advantage of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which gives automatic citizenship to anyone born on American soil. While it’s difficult to calculate the exact amount, the Center for Immigration Studies estimates this number to be around 33,000 a year.
Such a move would appear to be months in the making. Trump — who has made immigration enforcement a top priority in the White House — in August confirmed a reporter’s question that he was “very seriously” looking into ending birthright citizenship by way of executive order.
“We’re looking at that very seriously, birthright citizenship, where you have a baby on our land — you walk over the border and have a baby,” he said at the time. “Congratulations, the baby is now a U.S. citizen. We’re looking at it very, very seriously. I don’t know how you found that out, but that’s very good,” he went on. “It’s frankly ridiculous.”
Specifically, the administration is reportedly considering changes to visitor visas, or B visas, that give foreign nationals the ability to visit the U.S. on a temporary basis. The State Department would have the authority to deny individuals tourism or short-term business visas if they are suspected of trying to facilitate automatic citizenship, according to Axios.
Abuse of U.S. birthright citizenship laws is well documented, and individuals have been prosecuted over the years of running elaborate and high-dollar “birth tourism” schemes.
A Chinese national pled guilty and was sentenced to prison for running a “birth tourism” operation out of Orange County, California. Under her business, wealthy Chinese officials and other pregnant clients paid her thousands of dollars for her coaching lessons on how to skirt immigration laws and successfully enter the U.S. and give birth American babies. The Chinese national raked in about $3 million in wire transfers from her clients over just two years.
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