President Trump fixed up a new rule on Thursday instructing United States consular officials to deny pregnant women. Exceptions will be given if they can prove "to the satisfaction of the consular officer" either that they are not traveling to the U.S. to give birth, or that they have a legitimate medical reason to give birth in the country. The regulations will take effect on Friday.
The new visa rules aim to restrict "birth tourism," in which women who travel to the United States to give birth so their children can have U.S. citizenship.
Their goal is to alleviate foreigners who take advantage of the constitutional provision granting "birthright citizenship" to anyone born in the United States.
According to Theresa Cardinal Brown, the director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, pregnant women should "overcome the presumption that they are traveling to the U.S. to give birth."
Traveling to the U.S. for the direct purpose of giving birth was not previously banned. On the contrary, giving birth as a purpose for traveling was sometimes included in women's visa applications.
This would determine how much legal authority the administration has to prevent foreigners from taking advantage of the 14th Amendment's protection of citizenship for anyone born in the U.S.
According to a State Department official, this modification is intended to address the national security and law enforcement risks linked with birth tourism, including criminal activity associated with the birth tourism industry.
However, according to Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, the action this measure seems to be doing is creating another basis for discriminating against women in their decision to come to the United States of America.
The new regulations said pregnant women applying for visitor visas are demanded to prove they have a specific reason for travel beyond giving birth, such as a medical necessity.
The re-election will take place in November and the administration has made restricting legal and illegal immigration a focus of his 2020 campaign.
The State Department was already directing embassies to deny visas to pregnant women they suspect are coming to the U.S. to give birth.
However, consular officers will not be questioning all-female visa applicants of child-bearing age whether they are pregnant or plan to get pregnant but would ask the question only if they found evidence to believe the applicant is pregnant and planning to give birth in the U.S.
The responsibility rests on U.S. consular officials to review the evidence pregnant women provide and identify whether they have a legitimate medical reason to give birth in the U.S. despite not having medical training.
According to White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham last Thursday, the policy is "necessary to enhance public safety, national security, and the integrity of our immigration system." She added that the birth tourism industry burdens hospital resources and invites criminal activity.
One flaw is that they are trying to charge immigration officers, who have no medical background, with adjudicating people's pregnancies, according to Carolyn Sufrin, a doctor and a fellow with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
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