Don’t think I wouldn’t catch the next flight out of Istanbul and head for the U.S. if I had the money and opportunity to birth my baby in the best country in the world, and have my child become, presto, a legalized citizen of the U.S.
All told, it would cost me about $45,000 including luxury hotel accommodations along with hospital and doctor’s costs. Not a bad price to pay for instant access to excellent medical, educational, and economic prospects. Oh, and my baby also gets the privilege of applying for her foreign born family members to join her once she turns twenty-one.
Marmara Manhattan Hotel, part of a Turkish hotel chain, has an offer that no one—who desires easy access to the States—could refuse. Stay a couple of months in New York City, have your baby, and voila, instant connection to all things American. The popular interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment ensures the process to be completely legal.
The increase in birth tourism in this country doesn’t bode well for our national security. At a time when foreign terrorists want nothing more than to bring America to her knees, we must have legislation which reverses the long held practice of conferring the rights of citizenship on children born here who have foreign nationals for parents.
Stretching a loophole into a gaping fissure has created the unintended consequence of allowing nonresident foreign visitors to walk into the U.S., claim citizen rights for their newborn babies and, ultimately, for themselves.
The present day definition of birthright citizenship began with the Fourteenth Amendment. The Citizenship Clause states:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.
The amendment had the intention to grant black slaves citizenship, and eventually, Native Americans as well. The phrase “and subject to the jurisdiction” has, according to professor Lino Graglia of the University of Texas school of law, been misinterpreted, and does not mean children born of foreign nationals should be granted citizenship simply because they were born on American soil.
However, as it stands, we need more legislation to further clarify the original amendment. H.R.1868 proposed on April 2, 2009 in the House of Representatives offers a solution to close the loophole. The bill includes a requirement for children born in the U.S. to have at least one parent who is a citizen already if the parents desire citizenship for their child.
It’s in America’s best interest to restrict citizenship to legal immigrants and to children of those who already enjoy citizenship, and thereby thwart any attempt by, for instance, terrorist organizations to use our laws and privileges against us.