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A few days ago an Asian airline required a passenger to take a pregnancy test before flying to the Mariana Islands. Via ABC
A few days ago an Asian airline required a passenger to take a pregnancy test before flying to the Mariana Islands. Via ABC

Maternity Tourism: Is Donald Trump the "King Herod" of airspace?

Today a new regulation goes into effect to restrict visas to pregnant women who fly to the U.S. and thus prevent them from giving birth in the country. Is this…

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They don't say how, but they do say when. TODAY. The State Department issued a statement announcing that the granting of temporary visas to pregnant women who want to fly into the country is restricted to stop the so-called "maternity tourism."

This measure is part of the new changes in immigration policies and, according to White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham, aims to close a "legal gap," since the number of people who have tried to give birth in the country has become a "growing trend," despite the fact that there are no official statistics to back it up. 

"The final rule addresses concerns about the attendant risks of this activity to national security and law enforcement, including criminal activity associated with the birth tourism industry, as reflected in federal prosecutions of individuals and entities
involved in that industry," said the document.

This decision is in opposition to the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution, which states that every person born in U.S. territory automatically obtains citizenship, ending a right that is in the very seed of the United States and which the president has long wanted to abolish. 

It is estimated that in 2018, about 10,000 children whose parents resided abroad were born in the United States, according to the CDC.

From now on, consular officials will have the power to determine whether a pregnant woman can obtain a tourist visa. What is uncertain is how they will do so, since it is forbidden for them to ask the passenger directly, "unless there is a specific reason to believe that she may be pregnant and plans to give birth in the United States." 

In that case, what will they take into account? Her nationality? The zeros on her checking account or whether she is unemployed? Will they look at her ankles to check if they are swollen?

If you think this might be controversial, unconstitutional or even grotesque, know that a few days ago, according to the BBC, an Asian airline required a passenger to take a pregnancy test before flying to the Mariana Islands in American territory, which has apparently become a maternity tourism destination. 

A growing trend?

According to a study published by the federal agency in charge of protecting public health (CDC), it is estimated that in 2018 about 10,000 children were born in the United States whose parents were living abroad a year earlier, nearly 2,000 more than in the previous decade. 

According to El Mundo, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a conservative group that advocates tougher immigration laws, puts the number at more than 33,000 women, mostly from states bordering California or Arizona. 

The statistics vary considerably; however, the government calls the issue "endemic".

The State Department also warns about the industry surrounding "birthing tourism," which promotes the benefits of giving birth in the U.S., such as "access to free education, less pollution, retirement benefits, the possibility of applying for government jobs and the possibility that eventually the whole family can migrate to the U.S."

Donald Trump's campaign for re-election has already started. What will be next, banning storks from flying over U.S. airspace?

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