Yes, that’s right; Tourism is Booming in America, and most Americans are not even aware of it.
It’s a type of tourism called Birth Tourism, and it does not get much attention by the news media.
The significant benefits of U.S. citizenship and the executive branch’s permissive birthright citizenship policies have become a magnet for those seeking to add a U.S. passport holder to their family. An entire industry of “birth tourism” has been created and the phenomenon of pregnant women traveling (legally) to the United States specifically for the purpose of giving birth on U.S. soil has grown largely without any debate in Congress or the consent of the public.
“It’s easy. If you register the birth, it’s automatic that your baby can get an American passport,” said Kim Jeong Yeon, a Korean woman who traveled to the United States on a tourist visa while six months pregnant. Like many other women, Kim spent thousands of dollars to have a company arrange the travel. “If they could afford it, all my friends would go to the United States to have their babies,” she said.
According to Selin Burcuoglu, a Turkish woman who traveled to the United States to give birth last year, the process was easy: “We found a company on the Internet and decided to go to Austin for our child’s birth. It was incredibly professional. They organized everything for me. I had no problem adjusting and I had an excellent birth. I don’t want her to deal with visa issues — American citizenship has so many advantages.”
Birth tourism can be a lucrative business for immigrants who facilitate the travel and birthing process for their former countrymen. Turkish doctors, hotel owners, and immigrant families in the United States have assembled what amounts to a birth-tourism assembly line, reportedly arranging the U.S. birth of 12,000 Turkish children since 2003. The Turkish-owned Marmara Hotel group offers a “birth tourism package” that includes accommodations at their Manhattan branch. “We hosted 15 families last year,” said Nur Ercan Mağden, head manager of The Marmara Manhattan, adding that the cost was $45,000 each.
Similarly, the Tucson Medical Center (TMC) in Arizona offers a “birth package” to expectant mothers and actively recruits in Mexico. Expectant mothers can schedule a Caesarean or simply arrive a few weeks before their due date. The cost reportedly ranges from $2,300 to $4,600 and includes a hospital stay, exams, and a massage. Additional children trigger a surcharge of $500.
“These are families with a lot of money, and some arrive on private jets and are picked up by an ambulance and brought here,” said Shawn Page, TMC’s administrator of international services and relations.
In California, three Chinese-owned “baby care centers” offer expectant mothers a place to give birth to an American citizen for a fee of $14,750, which includes shopping and sightseeing trips. For a $35 daily fee, television, internet, and three meals are provided. “We don’t encourage moms to break the law — just to take advantage of it,” explains Robert Zhou, the agency’s owner. Zhou says that he and his wife have helped up to 600 women give birth in the United States within the last five years. In fact, they started the business after traveling to the United States to have a child of their own.
Zhou explains that the number of agencies like his has soared in the past five years.
Zhou believes that a cheaper education is often a motivating factor and his pitch to prospective clients includes the notion that public education in the United States is “free.” One of his clients, Christina Chuo, explains that her parents “paid a huge amount of money for their education” in the United States because they were foreign students; having an American citizen child permits her child to acquire the same education at a lower tuition. She also noted that she and her husband were not interested in permanently immigrating to the United States, “except, perhaps, when they retire.”
As discussion about limiting birthright citizenship heats up in the United States, some foreign countries are concerned about possible changes. The Nigerian media, for example, recently published an article titled, “American Agitations Threaten a Nigerian Practice.” The practice referred to is that of Nigerians traveling to the United States to have a child — a practice that, according to the newspaper, is “spreading so fast that it is close to becoming an obsession.”
The U.S. State Department is not permitted to deny a woman a temporary visitor visa simply because she is pregnant and the legal document she obtains means she is not likely to be stopped at the border. Consequently, the practice of granting automatic birthright citizenship allows a seemingly temporary admission of one foreign visitor to result in a permanent increase in immigration and grants of citizenship that were not necessarily contemplated or welcomed by the American public. Add to this the fact that immigration authorities are less likely to deport a visitor who overstays their permitted time if they have a U.S. citizen child, and one ends up with an immigration policy quite different from that which was originally intended.
The birth tourism industry illustrates how the executive branch’s permissive birthright citizenship policies can have the effect of transferring control over the nation’s immigration policy from the American people to foreigners.
Over the last few decades, many of those few countries with automatic birthright citizenship policies have changed their law as a means of discouraging illegal immigration and to give citizens more control over the future of their societies. The countries that have ended the practice in recent years include the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, India, Malta, New Zealand, and the Dominican Republic. Barbados and Antigua & Barbuda may also be ending the practice as the nations look for ways to cope with illegal immigration.
Donald Trump wants to put an end to this “birthright citizenship” nonsense.
This is one of the reasons for his popularity.