Home > News

Birth Tourism Industry Exploiting U.S. Pacific Terrority

Article publisher: 
NumbersUSA
Article date: 
December 26, 2017
Article category: 
Immigration Impact
Medium
Article Body: 

The Birth Tourism industry from both China and Russia is exploiting the nation's birthright citizenship laws on the Pacific Island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory. Tourists from both countries can visit the island for up to 45 days without a visa, and any children born on the island automatically receive U.S. citizenship.

Since 2009, the number of births to Chinese mothers who have received automatic U.S. citizenship on Saipan has increased by 5800%.

“As long as you have birthright citizenship, it’s true this is something that can be exploited,” Doris Meissner, former commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, told the Wall Street Journal. “This is the first I’ve heard of Saipan. That’s actually quite clever.”

According to birth-tour operators in China, more than 10,000 Chinese mothers traveled to the U.S. in 2012 to give birth so their children can automatically receive citizenship. As long as the foreign mothers enter the U.S. legally and don't overstay their visa, there is nothing illegal about birth tourism under current law.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) introduces legislation each Congress, H.R. 140, that would end Birthright Citizenship. The Birthright Citizenship Act would require that at least one parent be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (green card holder) in order for a child born in the U.S. to automatically receive citizenship. The bill is part of NumbersUSA's 5 Great Immigration Solutions.

For more on this story, see the WSJ.com.