Jean Danhong Chen, an accomplished immigration attorney from San Jose, California, believes that immigration is a uniquely positive contribution to America’s prosperity and has been a key part of America’s identity since the country’s inception. However, recent immigration law is making it more difficult for the nation to reap the benefits of immigration.
In a press conference, the White House Press Secretary – announcing new policies denying tourist visas to certain pregnant women on suspicion of birth tourism – affirmed, “The integrity of American citizenship must be protected.”
What is Birth Tourism?
Birth tourism is the practice of traveling to another country while pregnant for the sole purpose of giving birth in that country. In countries where individuals born in the country have citizenship, these babies can help the parents obtain permanent residency and more affordable access to education and health care.
Birth tourism is questionable, at best. It may not be an altogether negative motive by the Trump administration to want to ban the practice.
Agencies profiting from birth tourism may legally take advantage of desperate foreigners and U.S. immigration law to supply all necessary logistics for women to come to the country and have their child. These children then enjoy the privileges of citizenship and a passport.
Birth tourism agencies provide these services at an astronomical fee. Yet the practice itself is technically legal.
State department officials and the President are somewhat bewildered in their attempts to curb or eliminate birth tourism. Long-established immigration law forbids many different measures that might do the trick.
Regardless, the Trump Administration issued new tourist visa rules this year aimed at birth tourism. According to Time:
Under the new regulations, pregnant applicants will be denied a tourist visa unless they can prove they must come to the U.S. to give birth for medical reasons, and they have enough sources or have another compelling reason — not just because they want their child to have an American passport.
Officials said that consular officers would not be asking all female visa applicants of childbearing age whether they are pregnant or intend to get pregnant. Instead, they told consular officers would ask the question only if they had reason to believe the applicant is pregnant and likely or planning to give birth in the U.S.
Who Will be Affected by These New Visa Rules?
The 39 members of the Visa Waiver Program will not be affected. That’s because these nations share the same affluence and prosperity as the United States, and citizens are less of a mind to covet birth citizenship for their child. However, Jean Danhong Chen explains that the new rules indeed target impoverished women or women from impoverished nations.
How Will Current Legislation Against Birth Tourism Made It More Difficult for Foreigners to Obtain Visas for Legitimate Reasons?
Because tourist visas can last for up to 10 years, immigration agents may be forced to use questionable means to determine whether or not a pregnant woman is entering the United States explicitly to give birth.
As such, a businesswoman from Mexico (for example) might have to undergo intrusive questioning about their childbearing intentions before arriving in the United States for work. In theory, these women need only prove that their intentions for entering the U.S. are legitimate (in this case, a business trip), in spite of being pregnant or of an age suitable for childbearing.
There is still so much that is unknown about how these new visa rules can and should be carried out. Many experts question whether or not the new law will slow down birth tourism at all. Women that are prevented from exercising their rights under immigration law may seek help from immigration attorneys. Jean Danhong Chen concludes that while these new laws might cause some problems, she believes that as long as the women follow the required steps correctly, their goals of immigrating to America can still be achieved.