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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:52 am 
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Now that immigration reform is finally back in the US news, I'd like to ask a related question: should birth tourism be legal?

By birth tourism, I mean the practice of pregnant women travelling to another country specifically to give birth and obtain said country’s citizenship for the baby. It really does happen and has a small cottage industry built around it. LA has been cracking down on illegal maternity hotels catering to pregnant Asian tourists. The crackdowns are for safety violations; the practice of travelling to the US to give birth itself is currently legal.

On a related note, should countries give citizenship to anyone born there? Why or why not?

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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:21 am 
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It's a convenient dividing line. I would ask, is the existence of cheaters enough to stop a practice that has worked for centuries? Everything has its cheaters.

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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:15 am 
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While I disagree with it, I think it is a non issue currently because there are so many other problems to fix with US immigration first.

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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:40 am 
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I'm a bit watery on birth tourism, but I certainly believe that if a child is born in a country and they live in that country through a significant portion of childhood, they should be considered legit citizens without having to go through a paperwork process. I think that there are a few European countries that are shooting themselves in the foot by hosting work-visa programs and denying the children of those workers, many who were born and raised and identify themselves as, say, German, true citizenship. All that creates is a group of kids who certainly don't belong in the country of their parents culturally but aren't accepted as true, say, Germans. That inbetween status neither serves the host country, which creates an angry underclass, nor the poor kids floating in the middle who have to go through loops to be recognized.

Also, I think it smacks of racial and cultural purity if we deny the children of immigrants legal status as citizens. Culture is a malliable thing, and it's gross to assume that a certain set of people will somehow "destroy" a nation's identity by bringing a different viewpoint with them.

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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:15 am 
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On the one hand, I don't like the idea of punishing a child for their parents' crime. On the other hand, allowing children born in the US to illegal aliens to be automatic citizens incentivizes illegal border crossing. I think the best solution is to make it significantly easier for good, honest people to get here legally, then remove the automatic citizenship for U.S. births to illegal immigrant parents. Legal vs. illegal immigration improves, and we are no longer rewarding illegal border crossings. "Racial purity" has nothing to do with it as far as I'm concerned; if you're here legally, citizen or not, I have no problem granting your child born here full citizenship. I think part of what has made this country great is its rich immigrant heritage.

That said, I agree with Jorodryn that we have more serious immigration problems, though I think they can be fixed with the same philosophy: remove the incentive to enter the country illegally by making it easier (read: less expensive) for people to get in legally and, once that is in place, cracking down hard on illegals.

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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:35 pm 
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It's a tough issue for me because my wife is from Malaysia. We had to go through all the proper channels for her to come to this country after we were married. My son is adopted from Russia, and while that is a lot more streamlined as far as getting him in country and citizenship upon adoption, we still had to go through the legal process to bring him home. So while this thread is not about immigration reform you can see where the thought of amnesty and things really chaps me.

With all of that out of the way, If someone comes here for holiday, downloads offspring, and then jets home and lives there and the child is considered a US citizen I disagree that should happen. If someone comes here on holiday, downloads offspring, and tries to use that child as an excuse to be allowed to stay because the child is now a US citizen I disagree with that as well.

I do think that immigration rules need to be relaxed. I am not for completely open borders, but I think most of the bureaucracy for getting people here should be done away with. I have to admit at the time my wife was granted her Visa and green card I was in the military and the process was very streamlined and we did in three months what some people take years to do. I know this because we have looked at legally getting her siblings and mother here.

I have half considered telling her sister and sister's husband, come stay for a bit, over stay their visa and then apply for protection under the DREAM act because they have a better chance of getting a green card than if we try to get them here through the normal process.

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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:04 pm 
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AlternateTorg wrote:
I think the best solution is to make it significantly easier for good, honest people to get here legally, then remove the automatic citizenship for U.S. births to illegal immigrant parents. Legal vs. illegal immigration improves, and we are no longer rewarding illegal border crossings.


If you stop granting citizenship to the children of people who are in the country illegally, I'm not sure that would make any real difference. Pregnant women would just gain legal temporary entry to the country, and time their visit so that their due date coincides with their stay. And if the immigration department got into the business of refusing tourist entry to women who looked pregnant, that would get seriously messy.

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With all of that out of the way, If someone comes here for holiday, downloads offspring, and then jets home and lives there and the child is considered a US citizen I disagree that should happen. If someone comes here on holiday, downloads offspring, and tries to use that child as an excuse to be allowed to stay because the child is now a US citizen I disagree with that as well.

Then how would you propose preventing it? If you're here on a tourist visa, then any children you have aren't US citizens? What about people from countries who aren't required to get a visa to visit the US?

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:53 am 
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There're are two different questions being a bit mixed here, I think. One is whether someone who is born to a resident foreigner and grows up in a country should be a citizen. The other is whether someone born in your country whilst their pregnant mother was there on holiday for a week should be a citizen. I know a couple who went to Ireland for a couple of weeks around their baby's due date, simply so the baby would hold a European passport. They were living in the UK at the time, but because they were not European citizens themselves and didn't have indefinite leave to remain in the UK, their child wouldn't have been granted a British passport. Under Irish law at the time (it was changed shortly afterwards), simply being born in Ireland was sufficient to claim Irish citizenship.

It seems somewhat bizarre that a child with no connection to Ireland shoud be legally Irish, just because it was too difficult for him to be a citizen of the country he grew up in. I understand Ireland changing their law, but then in a way I also understand the British law. If his parents had had permanent legal residence, the kid would have been British, even though they weren't. If the child had been allowed a British passport, then it would mean people getting passports simply because their parents were temporarily studying abroard in Britiain for a couple of years, even though the child has no further connection to the country.

It's a complicated issue.

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:31 am 
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Kea wrote:
If you stop granting citizenship to the children of people who are in the country illegally, I'm not sure that would make any real difference. Pregnant women would just gain legal temporary entry to the country, and time their visit so that their due date coincides with their stay. And if the immigration department got into the business of refusing tourist entry to women who looked pregnant, that would get seriously messy.

It depends on what you're trying to stop. I don't particularly care about whether children born to people here temporarily but legally become citizens, though I agree that it probably makes sense that your kid shouldn't be a citizen if you're here on a tourist visa. What matters to me is putting an end to people illegally crossing the border. It doesn't make sense to have laws and then not do what you reasonably can to discourage people from breaking them.

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:24 pm 
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AlternateTorg wrote:
That said, I agree with Jorodryn that we have more serious immigration problems, though I think they can be fixed with the same philosophy: remove the incentive to enter the country illegally by making it easier (read: less expensive) for people to get in legally and, once that is in place, cracking down hard on illegals.

Historically cracking down hard on illegals turns cruel long before it turns effective. If government actually considers them a serious problem, their main incentive is employment, so the best way would be to punish the people who deliberately employ them. I think I heard that suggestion here a long time ago, and beside it everything else should be a secondary concern. I suspect the incentive of child citizenship isn't particularly important to most of them.

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:01 pm 
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LeoChopper wrote:
Historically cracking down hard on illegals turns cruel long before it turns effective. If government actually considers them a serious problem, their main incentive is employment, so the best way would be to punish the people who deliberately employ them. I think I heard that suggestion here a long time ago, and beside it everything else should be a secondary concern. I suspect the incentive of child citizenship isn't particularly important to most of them.

I agree that going after the employers is the most effective strategy, although it by itself is not comprehensive. Not everyone who crosses the border is looking for work, at least in the traditional sense. That's why I'm not in favor of getting more strict on illegal immigration until we have better solutions in place for helping people come in legally. Right now, it's arguably easier to enter the country illegally than legally.

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:35 pm 
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There is no rational basis for restricting immigration beyond preventing violent criminals from entering the country. Immigrant labor is good for the economy, immigrant population growth accounts for the vast majority of national population growth, which is a huge part of GDP, and humanitarian efforts abroad are far more effective at decreasing immigration, if desirable.

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 Post Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:41 am 
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Arguably the best times for ecconomy have been times, when there was a shortage of workers. Like the post WWII ecconomic boom in Germany (and Austria), when after part of the workforce has been killed in the war, there was a lot to rebuild as well.

Under that assumption, creating an artificial shortage in labour can be rational.

That said, i don't advocate overly strict immigration policies. If you restrict legal immigration too much, you get more illegal immigration, and illegal immigrants drive labour costs down even more, then legal ones do.

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 Post Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:02 pm 
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Out of curiosity, how big do you think would the wave of immigration be if the U.S. just said there's no longer any such thing as illegal immigration to our country?

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 Post Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:35 pm 
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I dunno, I think it'd be about the same really.

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