Promoting Good Governance.

Birth Tourism: Pregnant women to be denied visas as US imposes new rules

THE United States under the Donald Trump administration has said that new visa rules would apply to non-US pregnant women as it plans to restrict ‘birth tourism’ in the country.

If the new rule becomes effective by Friday, applicants will be denied tourist visas if it is determined by consular officers that they might be traveling to the US solely to give birth.

The State Department “does not believe that visiting the United States for the primary purpose of obtaining US 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.

“An entire ‘birth tourism’ industry has evolved to assist pregnant women from other countries to come to the United States to obtain US citizenship for their children by giving birth in the United States, and thereby entitle their children to the benefits of US citizenship.”

“This rule will help eliminate the criminal activity associated with the birth tourism industry,” said the department.

Although the Centre for Immigration Studies, a group that advocates for stricter immigration laws in the US say that although there is no comprehensive record of the number of foreign women that travel to the US to give birth, in 2012, it estimated that about 36,000 foreign-born women gave birth in the US before leaving the country.

Meanwhile, the debate about the new rules for pregnant women circles majorly on the possible human rights violation based on certain parameters of inquiries targeted towards visiting Non- US female citizens about their pregnancy status and the effect of that on her visa applications. Perhaps most importantly is “how to determine if the visa applicant would be coming to the US primarily to give birth.”

Human rights activists and critics have condemned Trump’s new rules saying that the rule is hard to enforce and unfairly target women especially aspects that affect pregnant women calling it “a new low” for Donald Trump.

Just this week, in a report by Wall Street Journals, the United States had said that it would be limiting issuance of business and visitors visas also known as B1/B2 visa to Nigeria and other African nations including Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Sudan, Eretria and Tanzania due to the refusal of citizens from these countries to return to the countries upon their visa expirations.

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