Chinese pregnant women come to the US solely to give birth and get their children US citizenship

On October 31, 2011, NBC news aired a special featuring “Kate Snow on women coming from China to America to give birth and get US citizenship.” This special depicted the controversy of whether the US should guarantee every person born in the US citizenship. Is it legal for women to fly to the US to give birth to their child, receive a birth certificate for their newborn, and then fly home immediately after? Further, it is legal for websites to promote this behavior by advertising US citizens’ homes as places to “vacation” solely for this purpose?

Kate Snow explained that this practice is going on especially in Miami, LA and outside NYC. The special filmed pregnant women coming and going constantly from a home in LA. Further, NBC took a tour of one of these birth homes. Inside the home that I saw, at least 7 babies were lined up with names above their baskets. Some homes are described on websites similar to hotels by offering pools, sanctuaries, and amenities.

In exchange of $30,000 (the cost for the short stay in the birth house, flight, expenses, etc.), Chinese families bring home a child with dual citizenship. The websites explain to these families that having your child born with US citizenship opens up many opportunities for the entire family that is potentially worth more than $30,0000. They list Harvard education as a “selling point” for this practice along with the opportunity to get Green cards for the entire family.

The CIS found that in about 39,000 births, “the mother came to the United States for the sole purpose of giving birth – a practice known as birth tourism.” In response to this practice, Rep. of Iowa, Steve King, introduced the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011 (H.R.140) in January. As of July 25, 2011, he now has 80 sponsors backing up this Act. It is sought to “eliminate the practice of Birthright Citizenship by requiring at least one parent of children born in the United States to be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.”

Despite several media reports, the U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled on whether or not children born to illegal-alien parents, or to parents visiting the United States with temporary visas, should still be entitled to birthright citizenship.  Further, some argue, “birthright citizenship for illegal aliens not only rewards illegal immigration and adds to the population growth, it also acts as an “anchor” for illegal-alien family members to remain in the United States and eventually legalize their status.”

Do you think this practice should be legal? Do you think the US should and/or will enact the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011?


  1. I had heard about this awhile back. There was a house that was shut down because of this type of activity. The people who owned the house were in trouble, not because they were getting paid to house illegal-aliens for the sole purpose of them giving birth to “dual citizen” children, but because the living arrangements were against housing code. The operation was discovered because people in the neighborhood kept seeing pregnant chinese women walking around the complex. When the police investigated they found that this exact situation was going on. The conditions of the home was not safe, the kitchen was turned into a nursery and every room was housing three or four women. At the time the news mentioned that this was a growing problem but that the government did not feel it was enough of a problem to enact legislation to stop it. As much as I am concerned that this is a way for people to gain easier access to our country, I am also concerned about people being exploited through these new erupting businesses. Human trafficking is a growing problem in the U.S. and around the world. I would hate for this to turn into another way for people to trick women to come to the U.S. Also, we are talking about new born babies in homes where the business model probably is to have quantity over quality of care. We need to look out for the safety of these pregnant women and the babies as well as being concerned with wether they are becoming citizens just by being born here.

  2. While it is understandable that many aliens desire to come to the United States to give birth to their children, I do not believe this practice should be legal. The fact that these “birthing homes” are charging $30,000 should act as an alert that something is wrong with the policy. Mainly, I think this is a problem because these children, with their american citizenship, can easily act as anchors to allow the rest of the illegal alien family to stay in the United States.

    The practice of coming to this country for the sole purpose of “using” the American soil to gain access to the breath of opportunities open to American citizens should have some restrictions placed on it. Although I am not familiar with the particularities of the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011, this plan seems like it would be a good place to start.

  3. To be honest, it does not surprise me that “birth tourism” exists here in the United States. The United States may offer these children a great life, a great education, and all of the American amenities that come with it. But, now that it is publicized and concerns are growing, what should the government do?

    The women who choose to give birth in the United States are not breaking the law, for now. However, they certainly are taking advantage of it and at a high expense. Surely, these families must be wealthy enough to afford to travel to the United States and pay upwards of $30,000 for a spot in a birth home. The price they pay up front is nominal compared to the priceless and immediate constitutional guarantees the newborn receives when it is born. Still, something about it just doesn’t seem fair. Hopefully, more legislation like the Birthright Citizenship Act will begin to appear to control this problem and find a solution.

  4. As unsavory as this practice is, I am not sure if the extent of abuse is significant enough to warrant the proposed law. Certainly under the proposed law, some people would be unfairly denied citizenship. In my opinion I do not think it would be fair to deny citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants struggling to make a living in America. I contrast this with someone coming to the United States expressly for the purpose of gaining their children American citizenship, which amounts to nothing more than playing games to try to secure for your child an unfair advantage. The children of those struggling to make it in America, taking the jobs that no one else wants and living on barely enough to sustain themselves, should be allowed the benefits of American citizenship. Their parents, while not citizens or legal residents, are doing a great deal to help the American economy, while those coming from other nations to simply have their children in America and return to their native land are doing nothing more than attempting to gain an unfair advantage. Although the privileges of United States citizenship may be being abused by some, this may be the price necessary to ensure that those that deserve citizenship get it.

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