Blackburn’s new bill denounces birth tourism industry in U.S.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on July 2 proposed the Ban Birth Tourism Act, which would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to ban birth tourism as a permissible basis for obtaining a United States temporary visitor visa.

“Our nation’s citizenship is not for sale to those who pay to come here and give birth,” Sen. Blackburn said. “Citizenship is for those who love our great country and want to contribute to and preserve freedom — not those parachuting in to obtain a second citizenship so they may come back whenever they please.”

If enacted, S. 4161, sponsored by Sen. Blackburn and cosponsored by U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), would help combat illegal immigration fraud and eliminate loopholes in birthright citizenship that are being exploited by foreign nationals, according to Sen. Blackburn’s office.

“Over the last two decades, birth tourism has grown to be a sizable industry,” said Sen. Blackburn. “Each year, tens of thousands of people exploit this immigration law loophole.”

Birth tourism is a growing multi-million dollar industry in which businesses aid pregnant foreigners in obtaining birthright citizenship for their newborns, according to a March report released by the Center for Immigration Studies saying that 20,000 to 26,000 birth tourists come to the U.S. annually.

The bill would codify the U.S. State Department’s Jan. 24 rule change establishing that travel to the U.S. with the primary purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship for a child by giving birth in the U.S. “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,” according to the rule change. “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.”