President Trump is seeking to halt the flow of “birth tourism,” the practice of foreign visitors arriving in the United States only to secure their U.S.-born children birthright American citizenship, by issuing a new regulation for State Department officials.
Every year, as Breitbart News reported, the birth tourism industry delivers about 33,000 U.S.-born children, commonly referred to as “anchor babies,” who secure birthright American citizenship despite their foreign parents having only come to the country on visitor visas. Previous research has put the annual estimate for birth tourism anchor babies at 36,000.
A new rule issued by the Trump administration states that consular officers who grant B-1 and B-2 visas, temporary business and tourist visas, must deny such visas if they believe a foreign national intends to travel to the country for the primary purpose of delivering a child on U.S. soil and thus securing them birthright citizenship.
“The Department does not believe that visiting the United States for the primary purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship for a child, by giving birth in the United States — an activity commonly referred to as ‘birth tourism’ — is a legitimate activity for pleasure or of a recreational nature, for purposes of consular officers adjudicating applications for B nonimmigrant visas,” the State Department regulation states.
An official with the White House said the rule is not only to enhance national security, but also to protect American taxpayers from being forced to subsidize the medical costs of foreign nationals solely trying to secure American citizenship for their U.S.-born children:
The birth tourism industry threatens to overburden valuable hospital resources and is rife with criminal activity, as reflected in Federal prosecutions. Closing this glaring immigration loophole will combat these endemic abuses and ultimately protect the United States from the national security risks created by this practice. It will also defend American taxpayers from having their hard-earned dollars siphoned away to finance the direct and downstream costs associated with birth tourism. [Emphasis added]
The rule will codify in federal statute a requirement that B visa-holders prove they can pay the full costs associated with any medical treatment they are seeking in the U.S. As opposed to current policy, consular officers will be ordered to presume that a pregnant national seeking a B visa “is traveling for the primary purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship for the child.”
“The integrity of American citizenship must be protected,” a White House official said.
State Department officials have said foreign nationals seeking B visas are increasingly stating during the application process that they are traveling to the U.S. to give birth to their children.
The majority of beneficiaries of birth tourism arrive in the U.S. from China and Russia, two nations that are not Visa Waiver countries, meaning their nationals do not have instant temporary access to come to the U.S.
A White House official told Breitbart News that nationals arriving from the 39 Visa Waiver countries, including South Korea, Singapore, Poland, and Taiwan, are not subject to this new rule.
To date, the U.S. Supreme Court has never explicitly ruled that the U.S.-born children of illegal aliens must be granted automatic American citizenship, and a number of legal scholars dispute the idea.
Many leading conservative scholars argue the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment does not provide mandatory birthright citizenship to the U.S.-born children of illegal aliens or noncitizens, as these children are not subject to U.S. jurisdiction as that language was understood when the 14th Amendment was ratified.
For almost two years, Trump has signaled that he has reviewed signing an executive order to end birthright citizenship, otherwise known as the “anchor baby policy.” That executive order, though, has yet to come up for consideration.
Today, there are at least 4.5 million anchor babies in the U.S. under 18, exceeding the annual roughly four million American babies born every year and costing American taxpayers about $2.4 billion every year to subsidize hospital costs.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.