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Attempted Crackdown on Maternity Tourism in the United States

An interesting effect of the controversial Trump administration is that certain immigration topics are becoming known for the first time to many people in the United States. Due to the draconian immigration policies and the colorful language often used by President Trump, terms such as “anchor babies,” “chain migration,” and “birth tourism” are now reported by news media outlets and discussed on social media platforms.

Trump’s declaration of intent on immigration includes cracking down on maternity tourism, which results in what he calls anchor babies. However, these children are natural born United States citizens by birthright. In constitutional law practice, birthright citizenship is referred to as a doctrine known as jus soli, which is granted by the 14th Amendment. 

A few countries around the world observe the jus soli doctrine. In some cases, foreigners who are pregnant enter a jus soli jurisdiction to give birth to a baby who automatically becomes a citizen of that nation. In the specific case of the U.S., there is also the hope of these newborn American citizens being able to one day petition their parents and other family members so they can obtain immigrant visas and apply for green cards. Trump and those who support his agenda refer to this process as chain migration, but it is part of the Immigration and Naturalization Act.

Maternity tourism does take place in the U.S., particularly in Hawaii and Miami, and it is part of a crackdown being conducted by immigration enforcement agents. Giving birth in the U.S. is not against the law. In fact, prohibiting reproduction is considered a violation of human rights. Nonetheless, pregnant foreigners may be temporarily denied visa approvals until the baby arrives or their term ends for any reason. The issue arises when visa applicants lie about their pregnancy status. In some cases, unscrupulous travel agencies in China arrange special packages to Hawaii for the purpose of giving birth on U.S. soil.

The Customs and Border Protection agency has assigned investigators and agents to take down the aforementioned maternity tourism agencies and their facilitators in Hawaii and Southern California.

It should be noted that maternity tourists have also been detected in Miami. According to an investigative journalism piece broadcast by NBC, giving birth in South Florida has become somewhat of a status symbol for wealthy expecting mothers from Russia who predominantly stay at Trump hotels and condominium towers in Miami. 

Adding to the irony of President Trump’s intent to eliminate chain migration is that his own in-laws, a couple from Slovenia who are green card holders, received the immigration benefit of permanent residence by means of a petition by First Lady Melania Trump, a naturalized citizen of the U.S.

In the end, expecting mothers who are applying for visas to enter the United States should discuss their options with a trusted San Diego immigration attorney, and the same goes for residents and naturalized citizens who wish to help their relatives travel to the U.S.

If you’d like information on family immigration services in San Diego, get in touch with the reliable immigration attorneys at KS Visa Law. Call 858-874-0711 to schedule an appointment.

May 2024