The Trump administration grants visa officers more power to block pregnant women from visiting the United States if applicants are believed to be traveling to give birth.
WASHINGTON — The State Department on Thursday moved to empower its visa officers to block pregnant women abroad from visiting the United States in an effort to stop “birth tourism” — trips designed to obtain citizenship for their children.
The new rule, to take effect on Friday, will give discretion to consular officers abroad to reject women they believe are entering the United States specifically to gain citizenship for their child by giving birth. The visas covered by the new rule are issued to those seeking to visit for pleasure, medical treatment or to see friends and family.
Conservatives have long railed against what they call “anchor babies,” born on American soil and used by their parents to bring in other family members. President Trump has also criticized the constitutional provision that grants citizenship to most babies born on American soil.
It is not clear whether “birth tourism” is a significant phenomenon or that “anchor babies” do lead to substantial immigration, but many conservatives believe both issues are real and serious. The Trump administration has repeatedly moved to allay such concerns
“This rule change is necessary to enhance public safety, national security, and the integrity of our immigration system,” the White House press secretary said in a statement. “The birth tourism industry threatens to overburden valuable hospital resources and is rife with criminal activity, as reflected in federal prosecutions. Closing this glaring immigration loophole will combat these endemic abuses and ultimately protect the United States.”
Story Credit : The New York Times