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?