Forget push presents; what wealthy pregnant women from around the world really want postchildbirth is US citizenship for their lil one. Hence the rise and booming popularity of birth tourism — where foreign women with substantial financial means come to the US to have their babies. The US is the only developed country, other than Canada, that grants jus soli, or birthright citizenship to any individual born here. Like parents everywhere, these women want the best for their children: for them, that means access to American schools, universities, and jobs.
Expectant mothers generally enter the country on a tourist or business visa — it's illegal to refuse entry to a woman on the sole grounds that she's pregnant — a few months before her due date. Once here, she needs somewhere to stay and help navigating the system. This is where the industry comes in: from the southern coast of California to the suburbs of New York City and everywhere in between, Americans are catering to this specific group of women, setting up birth tourism centers where women can rent rooms and receive help obtaining their babies' passports and social security numbers.
Birth tourism isn't a new idea — it's been going on for decades — but a recent move by Congress, which if passed will put up significant roadblocks for women hoping to deliver on US soil, has brought the topic to the forefront of the immigration debate.
What do you think about birth tourism? Should it be illegal?