What is birth tourism? According to Wikipedia:
Birth tourism is the practice of traveling to another country for the purpose of giving birth in that country. The main reason for birth tourism is to obtain citizenship for the child in a country with birthright citizenship (jus soli). Such a child is sometimes called an “anchor baby” if their citizenship is intended to help their parents obtain permanent residency in the country. Other reasons for birth tourism include access to public schooling, healthcare, sponsorship for the parents in the future, or even circumvention of China’s two-child policy. Popular destinations include the United States and Canada.
At present in the United States, babies born on our soil automatically have U.S. citizenship, due to an interpretation of the 14th amendment to our Constitution.
The citizenship clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees U.S. citizenship to those born in the United States, provided the person is “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States. Congress has further extended birthright citizenship to all inhabited U.S. territories except American Samoa. Once they reach 21 years of age, American-born children, as birthright citizens, are able to sponsor their foreign families’ U.S. citizenship and residency.
The argument hinges on the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States”. Those who oppose birthright citizenship (include me in this camp) contend that a foreign national is NOT subject to U.S. jurisdiction. The original intent of the 14th amendment was to protect the rights of children born to negro parents who were former slaves. It nullified the Supreme Court’s decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), which had held that Americans descended from African slaves could not be citizens of the United States.
Also, according to Wikipedia:
In an effort to discourage birth tourism, Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom have modified their citizenship laws at different times, mostly by granting citizenship by birth only if at least one parent is a citizen of the country or a legal permanent resident who has lived in the country for several years.
The United States should follow suit. In that vein, the Trump administration is taking a first step to limit birth tourism and birthright citizenship:
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is coming out Thursday with new visa restrictions aimed at restricting “birth tourism,” in which women travel to the U.S. to give birth so their children can have a coveted U.S. passport.
Visa applicants deemed by consular officers to be coming to the U.S. primarily to give birth will now be treated like other foreigners coming to the U.S. for medical treatment, according to State Department guidance sent Wednesday and viewed by The Associated Press. The applicants will have to prove they are coming for medical treatment and they have the money to pay for it.
The State Department planned to publicize the rules Thursday, according to two officials with knowledge of the plans who spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity. The rules will take effect Friday.
The practice of traveling to the U.S. to give birth is fundamentally legal, although there are scattered cases of authorities arresting operators of birth tourism agencies for visa fraud or tax evasion. And women are often honest about their intentions when applying for visas and even show signed contracts with doctors and hospitals.
Another way that our government is fighting birth tourism is to crack down on people who are running birth tourism businesses, and even deporting them.
A Chinese woman living in Irvine was sentenced Monday to a 10-month prison term in what is believed to be the first sentence handed to a birth tourism operator helping foreign nationals commit immigration and visa fraud so they can have American babies.
Dongyuan Li, 42, was released from jail late Monday, Dec. 16, for time already served. She has been imprisoned since her arrest on Jan. 31.
Federal prosecutors sought a sentence of several years and expressed disappointment that Li was free. They said they plan to begin deportation proceedings immediately.
“We’re not happy with it,” said Daniel Showalter, supervisory special agent for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Los Angeles. “But it’s not going to stop us from aggressively pursuing immigration violations and fraud.”
Li’s attorney, Thomas O’Brien, said he was pleased for his client, who faced a possible maximum sentence of 15 years.
“She’s going home,” O’Brien said. “She’s a mommy.”
Li is a mother to four children. Three of them, a two-year-old boy and six-year-old twin girls, were born in Southern California when Li arrived as a birth tourism customer herself. The three American children have since been taken to China to be with their father, Qiang Yan, a family friend said Monday.
Yan, who was also indicted a year ago, previously fled the country.