One of the key campaign promises that President Trump vowed to keep was to work to secure our borders.
Rampant, unchecked illegal immigration has been out of control for decades, endangering our national security and providing resources to non-citizens on the American taxpayers’ dime.
One airline adopted a rather invasive solution to this problem, which failed spectacularly. Fortunately, the Trump administration has stepped in — but will it be enough?
A win/win scheme – for everyone except Americans…
The Fourteenth Amendment of our Constitution provides that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States… are citizens of the United States,” and the legal interpretation has always been that – no matter the immigration status of the parents – any baby born on U.S. soil is a U.S. citizen.
This may have been beneficial to our country centuries ago as our forefathers worked to build and expand a successful and independent nation.
But this policy has since become an extreme detriment to actual citizens of the United States, as a scheme referred to as “Birth Tourism” has been become big business for shady entrepreneurs in countries like China, Russia, and Turkey.
For families with the means – the means being tens of thousands of dollars – a businessperson in another country will teach clients how to apply for a “B” non-immigrant visa to enter the U.S., refer them to a “birthing house” run in conjunction with the original “broker,” and guide them on applying for federal benefits for their child once they give birth on U.S. soil.
The origin of the “B” non-immigrant visa was to allow non-citizens with no intention of applying for citizenship to come to the U.S. on a temporary basis – for pleasure, for a temporary work assignment, to visit family.
But it didn’t take long for families in other countries to realize they could reap the benefits of U.S. citizenship through their child if they could time their trip accordingly and give birth here.
It’s not a new concept, but the boom in “businesses” that are assisting these women has reached a fever-pitch in recent years, and it’s estimated that tens of thousands of women fraudulently apply for “B” visas each year in order to have their child on U.S. soil.
The reasons are obvious. U.S. citizenship entitles these children to free public education, welfare and public assistance programs, health insurance, and later, the ability to apply for immigrant visas for their family members.
This scheme has cost Americans billions of dollars – and counting.
And it’s a major national security risk. The Justice Department has reported that dozens of Chinese “birth tourism brokers” encourage the practice, not only for profit, but to intentionally target U.S. born children of Chinese parents for the purpose of gaining sensitive information.
It seems to be a winning scenario for everyone involved – except for legitimate citizens of the United States. They get a foot in the door to commit espionage, create chain immigration through family connection, and dupe U.S. taxpayers for every “free” benefit available.
And there have been very few – if any – consequences for the parents or the “birth tourism brokers.”
How bad has it gotten?
Not only is “birth tourism” a national security threat, a burden on our economy, and flagrant fraud, it’s become so common that one airline went to extremes recently to try to prevent it.
Hong Kong Express Airlines was a major carrier for travelers flying to Saipan, part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands – a U.S. territory.
The island had seen a huge influx of pregnant women traveling there because – you guessed it – they want to acquire instant U.S. citizenship for their child by giving birth there.
In 2018, 600 babies were born in this territory. A shocking 575 of them – that’s 96 percent! – were born to Chinese tourists.
Due to security concerns surrounding U.S. immigration laws by agencies in Saipan, the airline implemented a requirement that “suspected” pregnant women must take a pregnancy test before being allowed to board.
But in November, the airline caused a little bit of an uproar with one woman due to their policy of requiring a pregnancy test for female passengers.
Now, no man in their right mind should ever – ever – assume that a woman is pregnant. But that is exactly what happened when one lady tried to board her plane.
She was selected to receive a “fit to fly” medical evaluation and required to sign a release because she was “observed to have a body size/shape resembling a pregnant lady,” the woman in question states was put on the report.
She even proved her intent to return to China right away by displaying her return ticket, but was escorted into a restroom to take the test anyway.
It was negative, and the airline obviously understood that this was not the right answer to the birth tourism problem they were having. Plus, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
They issued an apology and discontinued the practice until it could be reviewed.
They may now get some help with this dilemma – without implementing more ridiculous policies — in the form of new guidelines taking aim at “birth tourism.”
Finally, some action — but will it be enough?
As part of Trump’s plan to crack down on rampant illegal immigration, a “final rule” was just released on the Federal Register to make it less appealing and more difficult to be a “birth tourist.”
The State Department is finally saying what we’ve known all along – that the intent to travel to the U.S. to deliver a child is not “a legitimate activity for pleasure or of a recreational nature.”
Now, as a woman who has given birth to several children, let me just say that no one in their right mind would call childbirth an activity for “pleasure or recreation.”
But hundreds of thousands of women have used that excuse to acquire the “B” non-immigrant visa in order to give birth on U.S. soil, and the Trump administration is finally putting a stop to it – or at least putting a finger in the dam.
The new rule, enacted on January 24th, gives consular officers – or Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) — working for the State Department the authority to deny a “B” non-immigrant visa if that officer has reason to believe a woman is traveling to the U.S. in order to give birth.
In fact, if it is likely that the woman will give birth during her stay, the officer is to assume that the reason for the trip is to attain U.S. citizenship for the child. Visa denied.
It’s a good start, but there are always loopholes, especially for people who scheme to work the system for a living.
One idea, proposed by writer Dan Cadman on the Center for Immigration Studies’ website, is to expand the use of “maintenance and status of departure bonds,” or MS&Ds.
Provisions under Section 214 of the Immigration and Nationality Act could be used by consular officers, Homeland Security, and Customs and Border Protection to require that a woman submit a signed affidavit testifying that she is not pregnant, nor traveling to the U.S. for purposes of attaining U.S. citizenship for an expected child.
Another suggestion is for the person requesting the visa to post a significant financial sum for an MS&D bond before traveling to the U.S.
If the woman does, in fact, give birth in the U.S., the bond would be forfeited – on top of facing criminal charges related to the fraudulent act of falsifying a federal affidavit.
While there is hope the newly-issued final rule will help, criminal charges and the loss of thousands of dollars may further discourage would-be “birth tourists.”
Only time will tell, but cracking down on rampant illegal immigration through the fraud of “birth tourism” is a start.
For more on how “birth tourist brokers” rake in millions by fraudulently sending pregnant women to the U.S. to give birth, read our Proud American Traveler article on one of the worst culprits.