Washington, D.C. – Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) have introduced legislation to combat illegal immigration fraud and eliminate loopholes in birthright citizenship that are being exploited by foreign nationals. The Ban Birth Tourism Act will amend the Immigration and Nationality Act and ban birth tourism as a permissible basis for obtaining a temporary visitor visa.
“Over the last two decades, birth tourism has grown to be a sizable industry. Each year tens of thousands of people exploit this immigration law loophole. Our nation’s citizenship is not for sale to those who pay to come here and give birth,” said Senator Blackburn.
“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,” Senator Blackburn stated.
“For decades, America has felt the repercussions of a failed, outdated immigration system that has rewarded those who abuse our nation’s compassion,” said Senator Loeffler. “The practice of foreign nationals traveling to the United States to secure automatic and permanent citizenship for their children by giving birth on American soil must end. Through the Ban Birth Tourism Act, we are closing a glaring legal loophole, reducing an undue and unfair burden on our Southern border towns and protecting the integrity of our immigration system.”
The Ban Birth Tourism Act codifies the U.S. Department of State’s January 2020 rule change to prohibit the issuance of visas for birth tourists. Birth tourism is a multi-million dollar industry in which businesses aid pregnant foreigners in obtaining birthright citizenship for their newborn. These firms often serve wealthy Russian and Chinese nationals and charge foreign clients thousands of dollars for advice on how to lie to immigration officers.
Over 20,000 birth tourists come to the U.S. annually. From 2008 to 2012, the number of birth tourists coming from China to the U.S. increased from 4,200 to 10,000. In 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice charged 19 birth tourism operators and clients in California for immigration fraud, money laundering, and identity theft.