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'Birth tourism' faces new restrictions from State Department

SeattlePI.com Thursday, 23 January 2020
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is coming out with new visa restrictions aimed at restricting “birth tourism," in which women travel to the U.S. to give birth so their children can have a coveted U.S. passport.

Visa applicants deemed by consular officers to be coming to the U.S. primarily to give birth will now be treated like other foreigners coming to the U.S. for medical treatment, according to State Department guidance sent Wednesday and viewed by The Associated Press. The applicants will have to prove they are coming for medical treatment and they have the money to pay for it.

The State Department planned to publicize the rules Thursday, according to two officials with knowledge of the plans who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. The rules will take effect Friday.

The practice of coming to the U.S. to give birth is fundamentally legal, although there are scattered cases of authorities arresting operators of birth tourism agencies for visa fraud or tax evasion. And women are often honest about their intentions when applying for visas and even show signed contracts with doctors and hospitals.

The Trump administration has been restricting all forms of immigration, but the president has been particularly plagued by the issue of birthright citizenship — anyone born in the U.S. is considered a citizen, under the Constitution. He has railed against the practice and threatened to end it, but scholars and members of his administration have said it's not so easy to do.

Regulating tourist visas for pregnant women is one way to get at the issue, but it raises questions about how officers would determine whether a woman is pregnant to begin with, and whether a woman could get turned away by border officers who suspect she may be just by looking at her.

Consular officers right don't have to ask...
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Credit: Veuer - Published < > Embed
News video: Trump White House Looks to Halt Practice of ‘Birth Tourism’

Trump White House Looks to Halt Practice of ‘Birth Tourism’ 00:46

So called “birth tourism” will face further scrutiny by the Trump White House as it looks to eliminate the practice. Veuer’s Justin Kircher has the story.

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