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Trump Administration to Impose Visa Restrictions for Foreign-Born Pregnant Women

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It’s not unheard of for pregnant women from foreign countries to travel to the U.S. for the sole purpose of giving birth, seeking U.S. citizenship and a social security number for their unborn. The Center for Immigration Studies released a report in December of 2019 stating there may be 33,000 ‘birth tourists’ annually. Additionally, they estimated that in 2012, approximately 36,000 foreign-born women gave birth in the U.S. before leaving the country.

Now, along with the many immigration restrictions President Trump has implemented, birth tourism has finally made its way to the list.

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Trump has long been disturbed by the issue of birthright citizenship and has rallied against the practice with the threat to end it. With members of his administration saying it’s not so easy to do, he knows he has a few hurdles ahead of him.

Per NBCNews, two State Department officials with knowledge of the plans had the intent to publicize the rules Thursday and spoke to The Associated Press anonymously. In one draft of the regulations, pregnant women wanting to travel to the U.S. would need to convince a consular officer that they have another justifiable reason to head to the U.S.

As of right now, consular officers are not required to ask during visa interviews if a woman is currently pregnant or plans to become pregnant. This raises the question of how one would determine that a woman is pregnant to begin, and how they would justify denying her entry into the U.S. without that knowledge. However, it is their job to determine if the woman is traveling to the U.S. primarily to give birth.

Birth tourism is a profitable business in both the U.S. and abroad, with the majority of women traveling from China and Russia. American companies have been known to take out advertisements and charge up to $80,000, which includes hotel rooms and health care, in order to aid in the process.

A spokesman for the State Department commented that the draft rule is “intended to address the national security and law enforcement risk associated with the birth tourism industry.’

Coming to the U.S. to give birth is currently legal, and many women that are questioned are upfront and honest, even showing signed contracts with hospitals and doctors.

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U.S. State Department Stops Issuing Passports Amid COVID-19

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The U.S. Department of State has scaled back its Passport Agency operations and will no longer be issuing new passports in view of the situation surrounding the still-escalating COVID-19 pandemic.

Travel + Leisure pointed out that the release of this directive in late March coincided with the State Department’s issuance of a Level 4 travel advisory, which warns Americans to avoid all international travel and instructing those outside U.S. borders to return home immediately or risk being stranded abroad for an indefinite period of time.

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The Passport Divisions’ recent policy change mentioned that those who had already applied to obtain a new passport or renew an existing one prior to March 20, 2020, will not have their orders affected. The agency said that it would honor its commitment to fulfilling those expedited-service orders placed on or before March 19 within two to three weeks, door-to-door.

Moving forward, passports will be available only to persons facing qualifying life-or-death emergencies, such as serious illnesses, injuries or deaths in their immediate family, which require them to travel outside the United States within 72 hours’ time.

Such persons will need to not only provide their passport application and supporting documents, and proof of planned international travel (e.g. reservation, ticket or itinerary), but also proof of the life-or-death circumstance. This might include documents like a death certificate, a statement from a mortuary, or a signed letter from a hospital or medical professional, and must be translated into English.

To make an appointment at a passport center in the event of a life-or-death emergency, one must call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:00 a. m. and 5:00 p.m., or Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (EST); or call (202) 647-4000 outside of regular business hours.

No indication was given as to when the State Department would again begin accepting passport applications. As is now the case among most organizations that are attempting to respond to the continually evolving pandemic, its future plans remain up in the air. The announcement only stated, “The status of our operations may change quickly. We will update this notice as the status changes.”

For more information, visit travel.state.gov.

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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