Passport

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The U.S.-born children of illegal aliens not only represent additional U.S. population growth, but are eligible to sponsor extended family members into the country legally once they turn 21. In fact, an entire industry has built up around the U.S. system of birthright citizenship. Thousands of pregnant women who are about to deliver come to the United States each year from countries as far away as South Korea and as near as Mexico so that they can give birth on U.S. soil. Some come legally as temporary visitors; others enter illegally. Once the child is born, they get a U.S. birth certificate and passport for the child, and their future link to this country is established and irreversible.

A cottage industry has built up around the U.S. system of birthright citizenship. Dozens of firms exploit birthright citizenship by offering "birth tourism" packages online. Well-heeled pregnant tourists pay $5,000 and $15,000 (depending on the package) in exchange for a room, medical assistance, and a newborn U.S. citizen (some packages also include sightseeing). Once the child is born, they get a U.S. birth certificate and passport for the child, and their future link to this country is established and irreversible. The process is completely legal.

As one entrepreneur who caters to Chinese clients told The Washington Post: "We don't encourage moms to break the law -- just to take advantage of it."

No one knows for sure how widespread "birth tourism" is. Approximately 7,300 mothers a year indicate that they live outside of the U.S. on birth certificate applications, but most birth tourists live in the U.S. for at least several months, and likely use a U.S. address on their applications.

The birth tourism industry provides unsettling answers to the questions "Is U.S. citizenship for sale?" and "What is U.S. citizenship worth?"

External Links:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/17/AR2010071701402.html
For many pregnant Chinese, a U.S. passport for baby remains a powerful lure
Washington Post

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/birth-tourism-industry-markets-us-citizenship-abroad/story?id=10359956
A New Baby Boom? Foreign 'Birth Tourists' Seek U.S. Citizenship for Children
ABC News

http://turkishreporter.com/headlines/761-more-turkish-moms-give-birth-in-the-us.html
More Turkish Moms Give Birth In The US
The Turkish Reporter

http://www.cis.org/Vaughan/BirthrightCitizenshipReport
Birthright Citizenship Report Sparks Debate
Center for Immigration Studies
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Birthright Citizenship