After talking about ending birthright citizenship but not actually doing much, President Trump is attacking its open flank. Trump must campaign on the issue and force Democrats on the record in favor of debasing American citizenship and diluting its value. Which, of course, they are.
For immigration patriots, there’s nothing defensible about the U.S. Government’s (constitutionally not required) policy of granting U.S. citizenship to any child born on U.S. territory, no matter who his parents are or where home really is. But even people who otherwise support birthright citizenship struggle to defend birth tourism, a racket that has grown like Topsy in the United States and U.S. overseas territories, with immigrant-staffed hotels and clinics springing up in Los Angeles, Miami, and elsewhere—even in such outposts as Guam and Saipan—for the express purpose of catering to foreign women who arrive great with child and delivering their babies. Thanks to the misguided Federal misinterpretation of the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment, another anchor baby is born: Every one of those babies is awarded American citizenship, with all that means over time for their kin, close and remote.
The whole sordid business is a patent fraud and ongoing insult to Americans. Chinese birth tourism operators may be the worst offenders, but they’re not alone. Koreans and Russians have long since figured it out, as have well-heeled Latin Americans.
The numbers aren’t trivial. The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that in 2015 approximately 36,000 anchor babies’ mothers’ mere presence in U.S. territory rewarded them with citizenship via birth tourism, and at least 33,000 more in the second half of 2016 and first half of 2017.
So it’s a relief that the Trump Administration, no doubt to the consternation of [Deep] State Department functionaries entrenched in Foggy Bottom, is finally tackling this egregious abuse of Americans’ hospitality and citizenship.
On January 24th the State Department issued a new rule addressing visas for temporary visitors for business or pleasure, effective immediately. The new rule zeroes in on birth tourism. According to the announcement in the Federal Register:
This rule establishes that travel to the United States with the primary purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship for a child by giving birth in the United States is an impermissible basis for the issuance of a B nonimmigrant visa. Consequently, a consular officer shall deny a B nonimmigrant visa to an alien who he or she has reason to believe intends to travel for this primary purpose. The 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, for purposes of consular officers adjudicating applications for B nonimmigrant visas.
So far, so good. The announcement continues, indicating an awareness of the many abuses that attend the birth-tourism industry—and it’s no exaggeration to call it an industry:
The final rule addresses concerns about the attendant risks of this activity to national security and law enforcement, including criminal activity associated with the birth tourism industry, as reflected in federal prosecutions of individuals and entities involved in that industry. The final rule also codifies a requirement that visa applicants who seek medical treatment in the United States must demonstrate their arrangements for such treatment and establish their ability to pay all costs associated with such treatment.
Better still. And the conclusion is strong:
The rule establishes a rebuttable presumption that a B nonimmigrant visa applicant who a consular officer has reason to believe will give birth during her stay in the United States is traveling for the primary purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship for the child.
Best yet. The State Department is directing consular officers that they must begin with the presumption that heavily pregnant foreign ladies looking to travel to U.S. destinations are doing so with the intent to birth an anchor baby.
This is heartening, and should become just the first Federal offensive in a broader campaign to end birthright citizenship as it now exists. But there are always devils in the details. The detail here is one word: rebuttable. That is litigation fodder for the Treason Bar, and a talking point for the open borders lobby to twist.
And expect another battle, behind the scenes and in the media, between President Trump and Deep State denizens who will resist any change he tries to make. The outcome will turn on Donald Trump’s determination—or lack of—to see this long-delayed change through. The President needs to hear Americans’ approval and keep birthright citizenship front and center in the 2020 campaign.