Fri, July 16, 2021, 5:38 AM·3 min read
In this article:
Mark A. Morgan
American law enforcement official
The number of “tourists” who lie their way into the United States with the goal of having their babies here, automatically making the child a citizen, is expected to double or more now that the Biden administration has barred officials from arresting new mothers for immigration fraud.
In a little-noticed move, the Biden administration on July 1 barred Immigration and Customs Enforcement from detaining or arresting pregnant women, nursing mothers, or those who gave birth in the last year, essentially giving them amnesty unless they are violent criminals or terrorists.
While apparently focused on migrants who illegally crossed the border, it would also include those who lie to get a tourist visa to enter the U.S. to have their child in the U.S. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, there were up to 26,000 “birth tourists” last year.
Not only do their children win U.S. citizenship, granted by the 14th Amendment, but it is unlikely that they will be separated from their mothers or fathers in the future.
“We already know what’s going to happen,” said Mark Morgan, the former acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “They’re going to stay. They’re going to stay.”
Stephen Miller, the architect of former President Donald Trump’s immigration strategy, called the Biden changes “an inducement to enter for the sole purpose of birthright citizenship.”
The new policy states that “generally, ICE should not detain, arrest, or take into custody for an administrative violation of the immigration laws individuals known to be pregnant, postpartum, or nursing unless release is prohibited by law or exceptional circumstances exist.” About two-thirds of those brought before immigration courts face “administrative violations,” such as crossing the border illegally.
That essentially bars the detention of new and soon-to-be mothers in the U.S. who enter illegally.
But it also will include those who enter on a tourist visa, said Morgan and Robert Law, the former policy chief for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services who is now with the Center for Immigration Studies.