According to the Center for Immigration Studies, more than 30,000 people a year come to the United States every year for the explicit or tacit purpose of having their children be born on American soil. This practice, known popularly as “birth tourism,” attracts people from China, Russia, Nigeria, and other countries where it would be hugely beneficial to have a child born into American citizenship. But because this scheme undermines U.S. immigration law and devalues citizenship itself, the Trump administration is planning to unroll a new rule to crack down on it.
“The new rule would be one of the first tangible steps to test how much legal authority the administration has to prevent foreigners from taking advantage of the 14th Amendment’s protection of citizenship for anyone born in the U.S.,” reports Axios.
Because many of the Trump administration’s previous attempts to limit unfair immigration practices have been challenged by left-wing organizations, the president is going about this new rule in a different way. Instead of making an executive order, the president intends to alter the requirements for B visas in such a way that State Department officials will have wider latitude in denying foreigners tourism visas if they suspect there’s something amiss. If this is the route they take, only the foreigners themselves would have standing to sue…and it’s not clear that they would, actually. Contrary to the popular view on the left, everyone on the planet is not covered by U.S. constitutional rights.
The crackdown on birth tourism may be related to certain current events. Just last month, a Chinese woman named Dongyuan Li was given the relatively light sentence of 10 months in prison for orchestrating a Southern California scheme to help pregnant Chinese women get to the U.S. for the purposes of giving birth. Federal prosecutors said Li was responsible for helping at least 500 women lie to immigration officials and successfully give birth to automatic American citizens.
Beyond specific criminal enterprises like the one above, the crackdown also relates to the concept of “anchor babies,” which Trump has criticized since the 2016 campaign. Federal officials have said that birthright citizenship is one of the biggest factors behind illegal immigration.
“If the message we want to send to the rest of the world is: enter this country illegally, have a U.S. citizen child and you’re free to go, then we’re never going to solve the border crisis,” former ICE Director Tom Homan told Fox News last week.
Exactly. As important as it is for us to build a wall and beef up security at the border, it’s even more important that we begin to remove the obvious incentives that are driving illegal immigration numbers to record highs. Ending automatic birthright citizenship altogether is probably the most effective way to do that, but that’s a path fraught with legal entanglements. Stopping foreigners from taking advantage of our questionable laws is a better starting place.