According to a recent NPR article, the Trump Administration has announced a new State Department rule designed to target so-called “birth tourism.” The State Department claims that the practice by which pregnant women travel to the U.S. to give birth so that they can secure U.S. citizenship for their children, is a threat to national security and often involves international criminal activity.
Under this new rule, which went into effect on January 24, 2020, consular officials can deny tourist visas to pregnant women if they believe that the primary purpose of their trip to the U.S. is to give birth. Furthermore, if consular officials have any reason to think that pregnant women will give birth while in the U.S., the rule states that those officials should conclude that obtaining American citizenship for their children is the purpose of the visit.
In support of the new rule, the State Department alleges that thousands of children are born each year to foreign nationals visiting the U.S. on tourist or business-related visas. Nonetheless, the State Department was unable to point to any sources of this information or confirm the scope of the birth tourism problem.
The new rule places new restrictions on applicants for category B nonimmigrant visas or temporary visits for pleasure. However, the rule does not apply to natives of the 39 countries that are part of the Visa Waiver Program. This program allows natives of these countries to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days at a time without a visa.
An additional portion of the new rule aims to ensure that natives of foreign countries who come to the U.S. for medical treatment have the resources to pay for their care. These visa applicants must provide proof to officials that they can pay for the medical treatment that they expect to receive while in the U.S.
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