Home Travel New Travel Restrictions For U.S.-Bound Pregnant Women

New Travel Restrictions For U.S.-Bound Pregnant Women

by SharonKurheg

New travel restrictions have been published that are specifically aimed at pregnant women, in an attempt to decrease so-called “birth tourism.”

The new rules would make it more difficult for a pregnant woman to travel to the U.S. on a tourist visa. The government’s concern is that pregnant women are coming to the United States with a specific plan to give birth here, so their babies can have a U.S. passport.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2017 (the last year such data was available), roughly 10,000 babies were born in the U.S. to parents who were foreign residents.

“Birth tourism” is popular and lucrative, with pregnant women paying upwards of $80,000 to be transported to the U.S., receive medical care and return home once the baby is born and has a coveted U.S. passport. The U.S. had been working to eradicate the practice since before late 2016, and the new decree is “intended to address the national security and law enforcement risks associated with birth tourism, including criminal activity associated with the birth tourism industry,” a State Department spokesperson said. Yet the focus will be on the mothers, rather than the birth tourism companies that are said to be partaking in the actual criminal activity. Which just seems…weird.

The immediate concerns include how consular officers would determine whether or not a woman is pregnant, if she could get turned away by border officers who suspect (just by looking at her) she may be pregnant, and how to determine if she was coming to the U.S. to give birth to her baby here or just was, you know, traveling while she happened to be pregnant. Consular officers don’t have the right to ask during visa interviews whether a woman is pregnant or intends to become so.

The effect of the new rules is not likely to be large, since tourist visas are typically issued for 10 years. So a pregnant woman could enter the U.S. on a valid visa she was awarded years earlier.

The State Department “does not believe that visiting the United States for the primary purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship for a child, by giving birth in the United States — an activity commonly referred to as ‘birth tourism’ — is a legitimate activity for pleasure or of a recreational nature,” according to the new rules. They apparently forget that coming to the U.S. to give birth is legal, and protected by the Constitution’s 14th Amendment and unbroken Supreme Court precedent.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


derek January 23, 2020 - 3:27 pm

Birth tourism is overrated. True, a US passport will make it easier for the kid to come again without needing a visa. However, if the kid grows up in the foreign country and comes to the US for college, he/she will find that culturally, they are very different and also lack connections to get ahead.

Nothing can be done about birth tourism now because if there are any new measures, people will attack Trump and say any new rules are racist. A Democrat who bucks the party will be the most effective person to do it. Maybe that’s Bloomberg or maybe nobody.

John Waterson January 23, 2020 - 5:20 pm

A sensible policy. Many people are abusing the broken system to gain citizenship for their children against the will of the “American” (illegals and their kids don’t count) public by traveling while pregnant under the guise of tourism. It’s a scam on the American public. Judges should have nipped this in the bud 60 years ago but are corrupt.

SharonKurheg January 23, 2020 - 6:15 pm

Hmmm. I don’t think it’s a “broken system” when it’s in our U.S. Constitution to allow people from other countries to come to the U.S. and give birth. The Supreme Court has also upheld same. The only thing “broken” in what you mentioned is calling immigrants “illegals.”

John Rogers January 24, 2020 - 7:34 am

It is actually not in the constitution to allow people from other countries to come here and give birth. It was a constitutional amendment to grant African slaves citizenship in the 1860s and 1870s. It was never the intent of the those who passed it to apply beyond that to people coming across the border illegally. The Supreme Court reviewing it in the 1890s needs to be revisited. It should be the policy of any administration to only appoint judges who will rule against birthright citizenship and that is the ultimate litmus test.

SharonKurheg January 24, 2020 - 9:40 am

“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. ”

That doesn’t specify slaves. If they wanted it to say slaves, they would have included that kind of verbiage.

And I don’t care how people get across the border if they are fighting for their lives – they should be welcome and offered a path towards citizenship, not ripped from their children and/or sent away to be killed by gangs that they were fleeing in the first place. Our county is supposed to be a melting pot that welcomes everyone but I think a lot of people have lost all sense of empathy.

But that’s not what the blog post was about. Coming to the U.S. as a tourist and giving birth here is not the same as trying to save the life of you and your family. But I guess some people can’t help themselves and have to add their political views into everything.


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