“U.S. lawmakers start attacking ‘birth tourists'”

From the Korea Times:

Every year, thousands of pregnant Korean women arrive in the U.S. with a big, round belly and leave with a flat stomach, carrying in their arms a newborn baby with American citizenship.

Labeled “birth tourists,” these moms consider the costly trips a privilege and money well spent. But for a growing number of Americans, they are ill-intended visits that take advantage of loopholes in the U.S. immigration system.

And now, with millions of foreign birth tourists coming from everywhere from Turkey to Taiwan with the same purpose, conservative lawmakers in the U.S. are pushing legislation that would stop automatically granting citizenship to every baby born on U.S. soil, as stated in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

If this legislation is successful, it raises the question of how citizenship would be established. Many U.S. born residents use their birth certificates as proof of citizenship.  But others have never obtained this document, and doing so is a hardship.  Additionally, birth certificates are sometimes questioned for certain folks.

As it is, I already know of minor children with their own proof of U.S. citizenship who were required to provide proof of citizenship for their parents when applying for a passport.  Yeah, not supposed to work that way.  But it does.

Maybe we’re following the lead of the French.

8 thoughts on ““U.S. lawmakers start attacking ‘birth tourists'”

  1. The Korea Times is wrong. The National Center for Health Statistics says that out of 4.273,225 live births in the U.S. last year, 7,670 were born to mothers who do not live in the U.S.

    Seven thousand out of 4.3 million is two-tenths of one percent. It’s not a trend. It’s not even a trend if you count tourists and visitors from every country, let alone just Korea.

  2. Thanks for that, Witt. I wondered where the Korea Times got that number. ABC had an article about “birth tourism” and the lede was “Millions of foreign tourists visit the United States every year, and a growing number return home with a brand new U.S. citizen in tow.”

  3. I live in Los Angeles’s Koreatown and I see many Korean women doing this. In fact it’s a trend that has been going on for a long time. While going to school in LA, in every class I had there was at least one Korean student who had American Citizenship, but completely raised in Korea. While I am against removing the citizenship-at-birth law, I do find this an unfair to practice to the many who earned their citizenship in the U.S. such as myself.

  4. I don’t see the problem with minor children needing their parents involved in getting a passport. Actually both parents are required. I assume the reason for this is to prevent parents from fleeing with children without their spouse’s consent.

    We just renewed our adopted Korean sons passports. And the only thing that bugged me was that you have to surrender original documents.

  5. Ktown, how does one earn one’s citizenship? Maybe by being a Filipino vet?

    Ed, I’m not talking about requiring parental input. I’m talking about requiring proof of the parent’s U.S. citizenship when the child already has independent proof of citizenship. (Note that kids can have U.S. citizenship without their parents having U.S. citizenship.)

    By the way, when you send original documents make sure to write contact information on them in pencil or attach post-its.

  6. I see what you mean, but the proof I am their father that I had to provide establishes my citizenship as well.

    I can’t say citizenship by birth bothers me though. I seriously doubt very many people abuse it. It’s hard enough for the people that are trying to come here. Which is where I stand on that. Anyone who wants to make a go of it should have a shot.

  7. PS, I do understand how complex the issue is.

    But someone living under the radar and showing up to apply for their child’s passport is… a bit much? I have literally seen this happen at our local post office. They work it out. There is even a postal worker there that takes care of their appointments specifically. The system bends.

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