September 25, 2012
While indentifying the most egregious immigration offense is a challenge, birth tourism is close to the top if not hands down number one.
First, the concept of wealthy foreign nationals coming to the United States for the sole purpose of delivering a citizen child offends every sensible person. The “tourists” brazen actions thumb their collective noses at American sovereignty and circumvent immigration law.
Participants in the brazen deceit pay the thousands of dollars in upfront fees, fraudulently obtain a visa, board a U.S.-bound plane, check into a specifically identified hotel that caters to their ethnic needs, have a baby and go home with her U.S. passport bearing baby in tow For the parents, birth tourism is an almost too good to believe bonanza. Their child gets automatic citizenship and can, when he comes of age, return to the U.S. and attend college as an American citizen. After graduating, two more benefits accrue. First, at age 21, the citizen child can petition his family members who are still living overseas, the widely criticized practice known as chain migration. Then, the child will enter the highly competitive employment market to go head-to-head for scarce jobs with what I’ll call for want of a better word, legitimate Americans.
Birth tourism supporters offer the familiar preposterous claims. According to a Sacramento Bee report, Jay Chang, a consultant for nine birth tourism centers, argues that the scam is “in line with the spirit of the Constitution” and adds that the federal government is “getting a good deal.” Chang, who shuttles between Taiwan and Los Angeles said that the mothers’ presence in the U.S. generates taxable revenue and that, eventually, the children return to American and will pay taxes as employees. The mere suggestion that the Founding Fathers would sanction birth tourism is an outrageous effrontery. Advocates inevitable statement that birth tourism is justifiable because the U.S. offers will better long term opportunities for the anchor baby children insults the intelligence and assumes that Americans are somehow responsible for providing comfortable futures for anyone who buys an airline ticket and learns how to swindle the system.
The birth tourism industry could be brought to a screeching halt with a mere modicum of enforcement. The very first step foreign nationals take to deliver their children stateside is to lie on their visas, a federal crime. They list the purpose of their U.S. trip as tourism or a family reunion---bold faced lies. But if Immigration and Customs Enforcement were to visit them at a known birthing center and find them eight months pregnant, the case for visa fraud and possible removal would be slam dunk.
Virginia Kice, an ICE spokeswoman, confirmed that lying to an immigration official is a crime but admitted that no cases that she is aware of have been prosecuted. The obvious question: “Why not?” As with all things immigration related, the federal government has chosen to tolerate the nationwide birth tourism sham even though Congress has been aware of the fraud for years. While the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011 languishes in the House with a mere 90 co-sponsors, new birthing facilities are popping up throughout California. In the Los Angeles area along, more than 40 maternity operations host 1,000 women. The National Center for Health Statistics reported that in 2010, the mothers of 7,719 children born in the United States admitted that they lived overseas, a 55 percent increase since 2000.
Most western hemisphere countries wised up to birth fraud long ago. The United Kingdom discontinued it in 1983; Ireland, in 2005. Canada and the United States are the only two nations that don’t object to selling citizenship .Based on the current congressional inertia, there could be a birthing center opening in your neighborhood soon.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns are nationally syndicated. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org