Effective last Friday, the Trump administration will now deny tourist visas to pregnant women suspected of trying to give birth in the United States so that their children are American citizens, a practice some call “birth tourism.” The U.S. State Department estimates that thousands of women on non-immigrant visas give birth while in the United States every year. The new rule will only apply for people seeking a visitor visa (B-1/B-2) from a country not included in the Visa Waiver Program.
It has previously been reported that the Trump administration wants to end birthright citizenship, which grants citizenship to anyone born in the country. The new birth tourism rule is a step in that direction. Birthright citizenship is enshrined in the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, instituted after the United States Civil War. In part, the 14th amendment granted citizenship to former slaves. The applicable text reads: “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.”
It is not known how immigration officials will identify potential birth tourists. According to government officials, pregnancy will only be considered on initial visa applications, and pregnant women would still be allowed into the country for legitimate purposes. It has not been ruled out that women may be directly asked if they are pregnant based on their appearance. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has indicated that the new rule will not change their operating procedures. It is unknown what the fallout from this new rule will actually be.
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