Breaking news: Trump White House crackdown on so-called “birth tourism”

Jan 23, 2020

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On Thursday Jan. 23, the U.S. State Department issued a new set of rules restricting entry targeting pregnant travelers who wish to visit the United States. The new restrictions go into effect Friday, Jan. 24.

“The [State] Department is aware that many foreign nationals have sought B nonimmigrant visas for the purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship for a child by giving birth in the United States,” the Trump administration stated in an as-yet unpublished document on the Federal Register.

“Foreign governments or entities, including entities of concern to the United States, may seek to benefit from birth tourism for purposes that would threaten the security of the United States. This rule would help close a potential vulnerability to national security that would be posed by any foreign government or entity that sought to exploit birth tourism to enhance access to the United States.”

The new regulation puts the onus on visitors applying for tourist visas to prove that giving birth within U.S. borders is not their primary purpose of travel. The statement also reinforces an existing requirement that travelers seeking medical treatment in the United States must provide proof of necessity, planning and financial ability “to the satisfaction of the consular officer.”

Historically, the State Department issues tourist visas for pleasure travel under “activities of a recreational character” such as “tourism, amusement, visits with friends or relatives, rest, medical treatment, and activities of a fraternal, social, or services nature.” The revision states that “The Department considers birth tourism an inappropriate basis for the issuance of temporary visitor visas.”

Featured photo by Getty Images. 

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