American Elephants

A Little Irish Music for St. Patrick’s Day. by The Elephant's Child
March 17, 2010, 4:01 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Maria McCool from Gaoth Dobhair with the Irish Gaelic Song:

Ar Éirinn Ní Neosfainn Cé Hí.

What Does It Mean to Be an American Citizen? by The Elephant's Child
March 17, 2010, 7:30 am
Filed under: Economy, Education, Law, Politics | Tags: , ,

Not long ago, I was getting my hair cut, and my hair-guy had just returned from a trip to Tucson, for a golf vacation.  His brother, a Tucson resident,  had told him about a local hospital advertising for affluent Mexican women to give birth in their hospital.  Posh surroundings, latest medical equipment, comfortable delivery.  The marketing materials don’t mention the big draw — automatic citizenship for the newborn.

Mexican families do the same thing at many U.S. hospitals, but Tucson Medical Center is the only one that advertises.  It is a practice that has been going on for years.  Some of the packages offered include a stay at a local resort and a shopping excursion. Affluent families want to give their children the best, and U.S. citizenship — including the right to live, work, or study in the U.S. is a nice extra.  Many children of such arrangements grow up in Mexico, but come to the U.S. as adults for schooling.

There is Korean birth tourism, where pregnant Korean women will come to the U.S. as tourists in order to ensure their babies were U.S. citizens.  Baggy overalls to hide their condition, a long visit, and a newly minted American citizen to take home.  Those who can cough up the $20,000 or so that it costs, are coming to the United States by the thousands.  Their reasons range from a desire to enroll their offspring in American schools to avoiding South Korean Military service.   The practice is also believed to be popular in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Consular officers are not allowed to turn down a visa applicant simply because she will soon give birth.

The Center for Immigration Studies has analyzed birth records:

  • In 2002, 23 percent of all births in the United States were to immigrant mothers (legal or illegal), compared to 15 percent in 1990, 9 percent in 1980, and 6 percent in 1970.
  • Our best estimate is that 383,000 or 42 percent of births to immigrants are to illegal alien mothers. Births to illegals now account for nearly one out of every 10 births in the United States.

And now, birth tourism is on the rise for Turkish parents. Tourism companies are starting to offer “birth tourism” packages to U.S. cities. According to Gürkan Boztepe, a tourism expert and media sources, 12,000 Turkish children have been born in the U.S. since 2003.

I don’t think this is quite what was intended by “a natural born citizen.” We have regulations about citizenship and naturalization that apparently need some clarification. I don’t think that cheaper tuition and avoiding military service were part of the intent.

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