US to impose visas restrictions for pregnant women

Washington: The Donald Trump administration has published new visa rules aimed at restricting “birth tourism,” in which women travel to the US to give birth so their children can have a coveted US passport.

According to media reports, applicants will be denied tourist visas if they are determined by consular officers to be coming to the US primarily to give birth.

Those with medical needs will be treated like other foreigners coming to the US for medical treatment and must prove they have the money to pay for it — including transportation and living expenses.

The practice of traveling to the US to give birth is fundamentally legal, although there are scattered cases of authorities arresting operators of birth tourism agencies for visa fraud or tax evasion.

President Donald Trump’s administration has been restricting all forms of immigration, but Trump has been particularly plagued by the issue of birthright citizenship — anyone born in the US is considered a citizen, under the Constitution.

The Republican president has railed against the practice and threatened to end it.

Birth tourism is a lucrative business in both the US and abroad. Companies take out advertisements and charge up to $80,000 to facilitate the practice, offering hotel rooms and medical care.

“This rule will help eliminate the criminal activity associated with the birth tourism industry,” according to the rules.

Image courtesy of voa.com

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