An immigration reform organization is outraged that pregnant
foreign women can come to the United States on so-called "birth
tourism visas" just so their babies will be U.S. citizens.
Earlier this month, residents of Chino Hills, California filed a
complaint about a "maternity mansion" located in their
neighborhood. It is one of dozens of facilities, also called
"maternity hotels," in the Los Angeles area that exist
solely for the highly profitable "birth tourism" business.
Los Angeles Times reports that for a hefty fee ranging
from $5,000 to $15,000, women from China and Taiwan are provided
with food, lodging and pre-natal services.
"We're not even talking
about illegal aliens here; we're not talking about people who
actually live in the United States," notes Ira Mehlman of the Federation for
American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
"We are talking about foreign nationals who actually live
elsewhere coming to the United States for the specific purpose of
giving birth here in this country so that their kids can be U.S.
citizens. This clearly is not what the framers of the 14th
Amendment had in mind."
The 14th Amendment stipulates that the mother must be under the
jurisdiction of the United States government in order for her baby
to be a U.S. citizen.
"If you go back and you read the debates that took place at the
time the 14th Amendment was being ratified, the people who wrote
this amendment … defined being 'under the jurisdiction' as not
owing any allegiance to a foreign sovereign," Mehlman explains.
"And a woman who lives in a foreign country and comes here
temporarily for the specific purpose of giving birth still owes her
allegiance to that foreign sovereign."
Iowa Congressman Steve King (R) and others have tried to get the
birthright loophole closed, but thus far they have been