The Corner

Birth Tourism

First there was Korean birth tourism, where pregnant Korean women would come to the United States as tourists in order to ensure their babies were U.S. citizens. Then Tucson hospitals started offering “birth packages” to expectant Mexican mothers. And now, this:

With more Turkish parents wanting their child to be born in the US, tourism companies are starting to offer ‘birth tourism’ packages to US cities. Many women say giving birth in the US has benefits including cheaper education and fewer visa worries. Some Americans, however, want to restrict the practice, citing fears of illegal migration

Arrrrrrghhhhh! For many people, including some here at the Corner, the solution is to end automatic citizenship at birth, but I’m not a fan of that. The way we determine citizenship is simple and decentralized — we need to do a better job of tracking birth records to ensure they’re legitimate, but if they are, that’s all you need to demonstrate citizenship, so there’s no need to petition a bureaucrat in Washington.

But . . . if you’re going to keep automatic citizenship at birth, there are two things you can’t do — wink at massive illegal immigration (almost one out of 10 births in the U.S. is to an illegal alien mother) and give visitor visas to pregnant women. Amazingly, our consular officers are not permitted to turn down a visa applicant simply because she’ll soon give birth. That needs to change so that the default position is that women who might give birth during their temporary stay here should not be approved for visas. Otherwise, foreigners will be able to decide completely on their own who will and will not be a member of the American people.

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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