The Trump administration has unveiled a new rule banning pregnant women from coming to America just to have babies in what has been described as “birth tourism” or “the practice of giving birth in the United States in order to obtain U.S. citizenship for a child. They apply to B visas, or those issued to nonimmigrants.”
The administration said the policy is “rife with fraud”.
According to a CNBC story ” The State Department on Thursday unveiled new rules that could make it more difficult for pregnant foreign nationals to travel to the United States using tourist visas, citing security concerns.
The rules, which will become effective on Friday, are an attempt to crack down on “birth tourism,” or the practice of giving birth in the United States in order to obtain U.S. citizenship for a child. They apply to B visas, or those issued to nonimmigrants.
“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,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. “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.”
“The integrity of American citizenship must be protected,” she said.
The Trump administration has sought to limit immigration to the United States, and President Donald Trump has been particularly critical of birthright citizenship, or the right of those born in America to citizenship. The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.”
There are no official figures documenting how many foreigners travel to the U.S. specifically to give birth, though the State Department cited reporting from U.S. embassies and consulates it said documented an increase in the trend.
The Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative group that advocates for stricter immigration laws, estimated last year that there were 33,000 births to women in the country temporarily on tourist visas between the second half of 2016 and the first half of 2017.
It’s not clear how consular officials will determine whether individuals seeking to travel to the U.S. are pregnant. The rule calls for officials to reject the visa applications of individuals whose “primary purpose” is obtaining U.S. citizenship for a child by giving birth.
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