US president, Trump has on Thursday imposed new visa rules focused at restricting “birth tourism,” in which women travel to the United States to give birth so their children can have U.S. citizenship.
According to Washington Times, applicants will be denied a tourist visa unless they prove a strong reason for them to come to the U.S. to give birth, if it’s for medical reasons and they have money to pay for it – not just for the child to have a passport.
In a statement, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said: “Closing this glaring immigration loophole will combat these endemic abuses and ultimately protect the United States from the national security risks created by this practice.
“It will also defend American taxpayers from having their hard-earned dollars siphoned away to finance the direct and downstream costs associated with birth tourism. The integrity of American citizenship must be protected.”
The practice of traveling to the U.S. to give birth is fundamentally legal, although there are various 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.
According to the new rules, which were published Thursday in the Federal Register, to take effect on Friday, the state Department pointed out that “it does not believe that visiting the United States for the primary purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship for a child, by giving birth in the United States – an activity commonly referred to as ‘birth tourism’ – is a legitimate activity for pleasure or of a recreational nature.”