I don’t know what to think of what I’ve just seen…
If you had the money and the time to do whatever you felt necessary to give your child the brightest possible future, what limits would you go to? Where would you draw the line in the sand and say beyond that line is just too far?
The above video is from NBCNews.com, “Rock Center with Brian Williams” from Thursday March 8th, 2013.
“Birth tourism” is a term for traveling to a country that practices birthright citizenship in order to give birth there, so that the child will be a citizen of the destination country.
Also from Wikipedia:
“Anchor baby” is a pejorative term for a child born in the United States to immigrant parents, who, as an American citizen, supposedly can later facilitate immigration for relatives. The term is generally used as a derogatory reference to the supposed role of the child, who automatically qualifies as an American citizen and can later act as a sponsor for other family members. The term is often used in the context of the debate over illegal immigration to the United States to refer to children of illegal immigrants, but could also be used in a similar sense outside of that context to refer to the child of any immigrant “when the child’s birthplace is thought to have been chosen in order to improve the mother’s or other relatives’ chances of securing eventual citizenship.
According to the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution:
Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.
Note: Article I, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of the 14th amendment.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. (My own emphasis added.)
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age,* and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
*Changed by section 1 of the 26th amendment.
When I Googled this topic, most of the articles that were first listed in the search referred to cities in California like Sacramento and Los Angeles. By looking at the Wikipedia page quoted above, it seems to not only happen in America. These other nations include Canada, Hong Kong, and Ireland along with the United States. This practice is supposedly extremely popular within wealthy Asians including, the Chinese and South Koreans among a few others.
ABC News reporter Alyssa Newcomb reported in January 2013 in the article titled: “Los Angeles County ‘Birth Tourism’ Complaints Spike“:
Complaints have spiked over “birth tourism” in Los Angeles County, with 60 alleged maternity hotels being reported in the past month, according to a report by the county planning department.
Authorities have found it difficult to gain access to the alleged maternity hotels and verify suspicions. So far, they have been able to inspect only seven, and found that three of them were in violation of zoning codes.
Nestled in residential neighborhoods, the so-called maternity hotels are overwhelmingly advertised to women from Asia, as evidenced from various websites, offering expectant mothers the chance to give birth to an American citizen.
Pregnant mothers are advised to wear a dark T-shirt and holding a large backpack in front of them to cover their stomachs, according to advice on the website. They are also told to not bring in any items specific to pregnant women and babies, in order to prevent suspicion.
Aside from citizenship, the website touts other perks American citizens enjoy, including free public education, better loan rates and social welfare during retirement.
The impression I obtained from the Rock Center report was that most of these “tourists” only remain in the United States long enough to give birth, then obtain their American birth certificates and then return home. During their stay in America they usually pay cash for their hospital stay, the goods they purchase (clothing, electronics, etc), often upwards of $30,000 to travel to America, give birth and then obtain the necessary paperwork that will provide their child a ‘bright’ American future, if not themselves too.
I think I need to stew on this some more myself to fully develop an opinion, in the meantime what do you think about this?
This isn’t technically illegal, but is it right? What would you do for your child if you had the money and the time, would you travel to another country in order to potentially provide more opportunities for education, social advancement, employment and who knows what else? If not, why not?
After sharing this with my husband he made a very good point which I have also been mulling over. His response to this whole ‘issue’ is that it really isn’t an issue and he doesn’t have a problem with it because it is legal. Additionally, isn’t that exactly why he is here, in Europe, for us. We (he, myself and our future son) are taking full advantage of the fact that he happened to be born in England before they changed their laws regarding birth and citizenship. That is the reason we are able to honestly stay here today: privilege of birth or birth chance or opportunity of birth, whatever you want to call it. His parents didn’t really plan it that way, it just happened as his father was living and working in England for a number of years. Is it wrong? I can tell you that we both greatly appreciate the opportunities it has provided us thus far, but also recognize it is what it is.