A new ABC story highlights the abuse of Birthright Citizenship and the growing popularity of "Birth Tourism" among foreign visitors. U.S. hotels are offering birth packages that offer expecting mothers a hotel suite for two months so they can give birth in the United States, awarding automatic citizenship to their newborn child.
For $7,750 a month, a mother gets a one-bedroom suite, airport transfer, baby cradle and a gift set at the Marmara Manhattan - a Turkish-owned luxury hotel in New York City.
For mothers who take advantage of the package, their child receives the full benefits of U.S. citizenship, including unlimited travel to the United States, educational benefits, and the ability to settle here as an adult.
"We found a company on the Internet and decided to go to Austin [Texas] for our child's birth," Turkish mother Selin Burcuoglu told Istanbul's Hurriyet Daily News. "I don't want [my daughter] to deal with visa issues. American citizenship has so many advantages."
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. births to non-resident mothers rose by 53% from 2000-2006. The Center says 7,670 children of the 4.2 million born in the United States in 2006 were born to non-resident mothers (.18%). Many of the mothers came from Mexico, South Korea and China, but one estimate says that up to 12,000 children from Turkey have been born in the United States since 2003.
ABC's report said that the State Department and Department of Homeland Security have no specific regulations preventing pregnant mothers from entering the United States. They can bar entrance, however, if they believe the mother is coming for free health care.
"When determining if an individual will be allowed to enter the U.S., Customs and Border Protection officers take into consideration the date the child is due for delivery and the length of time the individual intends to stay in the U.S.," a Department of Homeland Security spokesman told ABC News.
The United States is one of the few remaining developed nations to grant automatic citizenship to all newborns. (View a list of nations that offer birthright citizenship.)
There are several pieces of proposed legislation in Congress that would require at least one parent to be a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident for the newborn to receive citizenship, including Rep. Gary Miller's (R-Calif.) LEAVE Act.
“The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article,” Rep. Miller told Fox News earlier today.
Please click here to send a fax and urge your Members of Congress to support legislation ending birthright citizenship.
For the full report, visit ABC's news website.
Updated: Thu, Apr 15th 2010 @ 2:47pm EDT