KEY POINTS

  • The Trump Administration has imposed tighter visa rules for pregnant women 
  • Affected applicants will have to prove medical or other suitable reasons for coming there
  • The rules are being imposed to cut down on birthright citizenship 

The Trump Administration has instituted new restrictions on visas for pregnant women in an effort to curtal “birth tourism,” a practice wherein women travel to the United States to give birth so their children can have U.S. citizenship. The move signals fulfillment of one of President Trump’s chief immigration-related objectives laid out during his campaign and the early part of his term.

US News and Report indicated that, under the new restrictions, pregnant women who are seeking to come to the United States to give birth must prove that they need to come there for medical reasons, or have another compelling reason, in addition to the ability to pay for it. The move is made to cut down on cases of birthright citizenship afforded under the U.S. Constitution.

The Trump Administration has said that the restrictions will not apply to the 39 main countries enrolled in the Visa Waiver Program, which allows citizens of those countries to come to the U.S. without a visa for temporary stays; most of the countries are located in Europe and Asia. Instead the rules will apply to so-called “B” class visas that permit short-term stays.

The State Department claims that the move will strike a blow to the opportunistic birthright citizenship “industry” that has blossomed to take advantage of the constitutional provision. “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 U.S. citizenship,” the Department said in statement.

Members of the so-called “birthright citizenship industry” claim that talks of the new restriction have not inhibited women from coming over to the United States to give birth to their children there.

US President Donald Trump fired off a volley of tweets criticizing his Senate impeachment trial US President Donald Trump fired off a volley of tweets criticizing his Senate impeachment trial Photo: AFP / SAUL LOEB