Children born inside the borders of the United States are automatically American citizens. This has created a practice known as “birth tourism,” in which pregnant women from other countries come to the United States to give birth, thus giving the baby American citizenship. This has become a major industry in China. But the reason is not just easy immigration when the child grows up. The Chinese are using the practice to sidestep the “one child” policy, which requires forced abortion if a couple has more than one child. If the second child is an American, the policy does not apply.From Calum MacLeod, Chinese flock to USA to give birth to American Citizens, USA Today:
BEIJING — Business is booming here for companies that coach pregnant women on how to deceive U.S. immigration authorities so they can enter the United States for the sole purpose of giving birth to American citizens.
At least 500 companies offered “birth tourism” services in China last year, the Shanghai newspaper National Business Daily reported. While there are no official statistics, the number of Chinese citizens heading to the USA to give birth likely is in the tens of thousands each year. The cost of a trip, including medical expenses, runs from $20,000 to $80,000.
The business is legal in China, but the tactics for entering the USA are not. The women are coached to lie about the purpose of their visit by listing “tourism,” which makes it easier to get a visa. They also are told to hide their pregnancies when going through U.S. immigration and avoid declarations that they’re traveling for medical treatment. . . .
The State department says there is no law barring foreigners from traveling to the U.S. for the purpose of giving birth. The tourism visa they usually travel on, known as a B-2 visa, allows foreigners to enter the U.S. for “medical treatment.”
As long as applicants are truthful about their intentions, prove they can afford their medical care, explain why they can’t have the procedure done in their home country and assert that they will abide by the time restrictions of their visa, such travel is generally allowed under U.S. law, according to the department. . . .
The main attraction: When children born in the United States turn 21, they can sponsor their parents to become legal U.S. residents so the family can emigrate to America. “They admire America’s clean air and food safety,” Chen said. “(And) it’s a nation that respects human rights.” . . .
Most who participate in the birth tourism operations seek a better education and environment for their children, while hoping to evade China’s “one child” policy, Chodorow said.
Expectant mothers typically arrive two months before birth and stay one more for postpartum recovery. Then they return to China, where government officials don’t punish the parents for violating birth control rules because a second child is considered an American. At 18, however, the child must choose whether to be a U.S. or Chinese citizen.