An increasing number of Russian women are traveling to the United States to give birth so their babies—and eventually, themselves—can get American passports.
“It’s really common,” Ekaterina Kuznetsova, 29, told NBC. “When I was taking the plane to come here, it was not only me. It was four or five women flying here.”
The so-called birth tourists take advantage of a law that has been increasingly exploited by different nationalities to varying degrees. The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that anyone born on American soil is automatically an American citizen.
There’s a long game being played by the mothers as well. When their children turn 21, they can sponsor their parents’ application for an American green card.
That’s exactly the kind of chain migration that U.S. President Donald Trump has targeted recently, saying birthright citizenship is the “biggest magnet for illegal immigration.”
“You have to get rid of it,” he said on “Meet the Press.” “They’re having a baby and all of a sudden—nobody knows—the baby is here. You have no choice.”
Miami is the most popular destination for the pregnant Russian women. Part of Sunny Isles Beach, north of the city is well-stocked with Russian stores and services.
“Sunny Isles beach has a nickname — Little Russia — because people who are moving from Russian-speaking countries to America, they want … a familiar environment,” Roman Bokeria, the state director of the Florida Association of Realtors, told NBC.
“They go across the street, they have Russian market, Russian doctor, Russian lawyer. It’s very comfortable for them.”
Birth tourism: 71% of illegals with kids collect welfare https://t.co/VtYj9eD6fV
Welcome to Maternity Hotel California https://t.co/uJQ8BLAO0a
— Skip V. Patel (@TheFlying_Camel) January 10, 2018
According to the Center for Immigration Studies, as many as 36,000 birth tourists enter the United States every year. Foreign nationals such as Chinese, Koreans, Nigerians, and Turks also take advantage of the law apart from Russians.
Selin Burcuoğlu, a Turkish woman who traveled to the United States to give birth, told the Hurriyet Daily News that it was easy.
“We found a company on the Internet and decided to go to Austin for our child’s birth. It was incredibly professional. They organized everything for me,” she said, reported the Free Republic.
I had no problem adjusting and I had an excellent birth. I don’t want her to deal with visa issues—American citizenship has so many advantages.”