News

Immigration

State Dept. Cracks Down on ‘Birth Tourism’ with New Rule

People wave from behind the border fence in El Paso, Texas, October 26, 2019. (Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters)

The State Department has issued new guidelines to prevent what the Trump administration has referred to as “birth tourism.”

Under the Constitution, babies born in the U.S. can become U.S. citizens even if their parents visit the country on tourist visas. The new guidelines state that U.S. embassy officers in foreign nations may deny tourist visas to pregnant women who they suspect are traveling to the U.S. primarily to give birth. Under the rule, it will be up to the pregnant woman to convince officers to the contrary.

However, because tourist visas are valid for ten years, a pregnant woman could enter the U.S. on a visa she received years beforehand, meaning the effect of the new guidelines will likely be minimal.

“It’s much more of a flashy statement than a real policy change that’s going to have a big effect on the ground,” said Sarah Pierce, an analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, in comments to the Wall Street Journal.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said around 10,000 babies were born to foreign nationals in the U.S. in 2017, the latest year for which data is available. In the Northern Marianas Islands, a U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean, more babies were born to tourists than residents in 2018.

President Trump in 2018 contemplated ending birthright citizenship entirely via executive order. Birthright citizenship is granted according to a decades-old interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, and while other interpretations of the amendment exist it is doubtful Trump would be able to unilaterally change the practice.

Trump has made immigration reform a centerpiece of his agenda, and has pushed repeatedly to complete construction of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico to stem illegal immigration.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

Most Popular

Socialism . . . But?

For once, conservatives were ahead of the curve. American conservatism functioned as a political mass movement in the postwar era not because of the rhetorical gifts of its chief expositors (William F. Buckley Jr. et al.) nor because of the intellectual prowess of its best and most creative minds (ask George ... Read More

Socialism . . . But?

For once, conservatives were ahead of the curve. American conservatism functioned as a political mass movement in the postwar era not because of the rhetorical gifts of its chief expositors (William F. Buckley Jr. et al.) nor because of the intellectual prowess of its best and most creative minds (ask George ... Read More
NR Webathon

This Is Not a Drill

We may be months away from the most radical major-party nominee in American history. Bernie Sanders doesn’t belong on the Burlington City Council, let alone on the cusp of the American presidency, but that’s where the Democratic nomination would bring him. NR has jousted with socialists over the years ... Read More
NR Webathon

This Is Not a Drill

We may be months away from the most radical major-party nominee in American history. Bernie Sanders doesn’t belong on the Burlington City Council, let alone on the cusp of the American presidency, but that’s where the Democratic nomination would bring him. NR has jousted with socialists over the years ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Bill Barr Is Right about Trump’s Tweets

Attorney General Bill Barr rightly and understandably rebuked government by presidential tweet in a notable ABC News interview on Thursday. The attorney general said that President Trump was making his job “impossible” by constantly commenting on an ongoing criminal case, and one involving Trump’s ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Bill Barr Is Right about Trump’s Tweets

Attorney General Bill Barr rightly and understandably rebuked government by presidential tweet in a notable ABC News interview on Thursday. The attorney general said that President Trump was making his job “impossible” by constantly commenting on an ongoing criminal case, and one involving Trump’s ... Read More
U.S.

Two Years Later, Don’t Misplace Blame for Parkland

Two years ago, 17 people died in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla. In the intervening years, both those who survived it and those who observed it from afar have tried to figure out how something so terrible could have happened. That is understandable. Unfortunately, the ... Read More
U.S.

Two Years Later, Don’t Misplace Blame for Parkland

Two years ago, 17 people died in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla. In the intervening years, both those who survived it and those who observed it from afar have tried to figure out how something so terrible could have happened. That is understandable. Unfortunately, the ... Read More