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Restriction of pregnant women and more controls for tourists: what you need to know about the ban on birth tourism in the US


The United States implemented a new policy to prevent children of foreigners born in that country from being US citizens. By this practice, which is known as "Nacimi tourism ...

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Trump administration seeks to reduce birth tourism 0:40

(CNN Spanish) - Since January 24, the United States Government has implemented a new policy to prevent children of foreigners born in that country from being US citizens, a practice known as "birth tourism."

This is what you should know about this new measure implemented by the US government.

  • The United States will issue new rules that restrict the entry of pregnant foreigners, for fear of the use of “birth tourism”

(AP Photo / Denis Poroy, File)

What is birth tourism?

Birth tourism, as it is known in the country, has aroused the interest of many women around the world who come in the last weeks of pregnancy to give birth. They then return to their home countries to raise their children, with the intention that when they grow up they can return to the United States, for example to study at the university with the benefits of being a US citizen.

US citizens and permanent residents in the country can opt for federal aid, such as loans, or reduced tuition fees at universities.

Why is the measure taken?

A State Department official told CNN that the rule change aims to address national security and law enforcement risks.

Under the rule, the State Department "does not believe that visiting the United States with the primary purpose of obtaining US citizenship" for a child "is a legitimate activity."

The initiative was proposed by President Donald Trump for the first time in 2018, when he promised to end citizenship by birthright by executive order, although lawmakers immediately rejected his comments back then.

  • For the first time the USA arrests “birth tourism” operators linked to China

For whom does it apply?

The White House announced Thursday that the State Department "will no longer grant temporary visitor visas (B-1 / B-2) to foreigners seeking to enter the United States for 'birth tourism'."

This means that the Government will deny temporary visas if it is determined that the “main purpose” of the trip is to obtain US citizenship of a child when giving birth in the United States, according to an amended regulation of the Department of State that is published this Friday.

What countries does it not apply to?

The rule does not apply to the 39 countries, most of which are in Europe, which are part of the Visa Waiver Program, a State Department official confirmed in an informational call with journalists on Thursday.

For Latin America, the only country that is part of the Visa Waiver Program is Chile. Other countries, besides the European ones, are Australia, Brunei, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.

So that citizens of these 39 countries can enter the US they must have an authorization through the Electronic Travel Authorization System (ESTA) that is requested before boarding an air or sea transportation to the United States, according to the State Department, in addition to having a valid passport for at least six months after I plan to leave the US

The State Department "does not believe that visiting the United States with the primary purpose of obtaining US citizenship" for a child "is a legitimate activity."

“This is the first recognition that it is not right to use a visitor visa for the purpose of 'birth tourism', so it has a symbolic force in that regard, at the same time, it is not a very effective way to search for 'industry of birth tourism, ”said Sarah Pierce, policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute.

The rule is specific for “B nonimmigrant” visas, which are obtained for temporary visitors for business or tourism.

  • Donald Trump makes fun of Jeb Bush for linking Asians with 'anchor babies'

How will control be done?

It is a bit difficult to establish.

During an informative call with journalists, a State Department official had trouble explaining the specific ways in which the new rule would be applied and its actual effectiveness.

According to the official and a diplomatic cable, consular officials were told that they cannot directly ask a woman if they are pregnant.

“You should not ask a visa applicant if she is pregnant unless she has a specific reason to believe she may be pregnant and plans to give birth in the United States. You must document such a reason in your case notes, ”says the cable. "You should not, of course, ask all applicants (or any specific subset of applicants) if they are pregnant or if they intend to get pregnant."

The State Department official said that the “specific articulable reason” to raise the issue could be if the applicant says he will travel for a medical procedure, which is one of the options already found in the application.

The official did not deny that consular officials could use visual cues as part of that reasoning and did not say directly, despite repeated questions, if a consular officer could ask a woman if she was pregnant despite whether she seemed to be.

The official added that consular agents cannot demand a pregnancy test.

Although the White House statement said the rule change was "necessary to improve public safety, national security and the integrity of our immigration system," the official was unable to describe a specific example of a past national security threat. that arose as a result of "birth tourism". Instead, they emphasized that the change was "closing a void that creates vulnerability."

In addition, the regulation requires that visa applicants seeking medical treatment in the United States must demonstrate their treatment arrangements and establish their ability to pay all associated costs.

Penalties for operators of birth tourism companies

Last year, the Department of Justice accused three people of running “birth tourism” businesses that served Chinese clients in southern California, the first time criminal charges were filed in a federal court in the United States for this practice .

The charges stemmed from a 2015 raid of dozens of so-called “maternity hotels,” often luxury apartments, where mothers will be paid between 15,000 and 50,000 to give birth in the United States.

Source: cnnespanol

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