The Donald Trump administration is tightening visa rules in an attempt to prevent foreign women from traveling to the United States with the sole purpose of giving birth so that their children obtain U.S. citizenship, a phenomenon that has sparked the wrath of conservative groups.
As of Friday, US consular officials abroad must deny visas to women who come to the country for that reason, the State Department said. A department official, informing journalists on condition of anonymity, said thousands of those births occur every year.RELATED
"The birth tourism industry threatens to overload valuable hospital resources and is plagued with criminal activity, as reflected in federal prosecutions," White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. “Closing this obvious immigration vacuum will combat these endemic abuses and will ultimately protect the US. of national security risks created by this practice. ”
The birth tourism industry threatens to overload valuable hospital resources and is plagued with criminal activity, Stephanie Grisham said
The number of such births is a small fraction of the approximately 4 million babies born in the US. every year, but it has become the target of criticism by conservative groups, who argue that such "anchor babies" are often used to help other family members emigrate later and take advantage of US services. . President Donald Trump denounced citizenship by birthright, which is guaranteed by the US Constitution, and said in October that he could try to revoke it.
The measure is the latest in a series of actions taken by the Trump administration to restrict the entry of immigrants and could be aimed at strengthening their political support before the November elections.
However, the new standard continues with several gaps. For example, consular officers have been asked not to ask all requesting women if they are pregnant, and pregnant women will continue to be admitted if they come to the US. mainly for other medical treatment or to visit a sick relative.
Donald Trump denounced citizenship by birthright
Many US visas they are issued for 10 years, so it is not clear what steps US officials could take if a pregnant woman with a previously issued visa travels to the US. To give birth.
The State Department official also declined to explain how officers should determine whether a woman will give birth during her stay unless she indicates it on her application form, and did not say whether the visual cues, such as the applicant who seems being pregnant could serve as a basis to deny a visa.
The new State Department rule applies to so-called non-immigrant B visas, which cover temporary trips to the US. for business or pleasure. It also seeks to tighten the rules on “medical tourism” by requiring applicants to demonstrate that they can afford the treatment.
Hong Kong Express Airways has already been involved in concerns about this type of tourism. The airline apologized this month after a 25-year-old Japanese citizen said the airline had forced her to have a pregnancy test in November to travel from Hong Kong to Saipan, an American territory, according to NBC News.
The airline said it required the test after Saipan authorities raised concerns. The State Department official who spoke with reporters on Thursday said the department would not require pregnancy tests for applicants.