In our nation, we have a basic understanding that anyone born within our borders is afforded all rights and protections as Americans consistent with the Constitution of the United States of America and its 14th Amendment. And while there has been discussion among some in elected office that the Constitution should be changed to prohibit citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants born in the United States, there is no serious threat this would be enacted by the Congress and American people.
As citizens, we understand, and our history proves, that we are a stronger and more prosperous nation because of the rich tradition of immigrants from all over the globe crossing oceans and traveling continents in order to call our country home. It is a defining difference between us and so many other nations around the world. It has provided us with a strong labor force allowing us to compete with anyone, and the varying customs have enriched our society and differing viewpoints have added to our innovativeness, entrepreneurialism and dynamism.
Therefore, anything that undermines or threatens not just the 14th Amendment, but what it symbolizes and represents, cannot be tolerated and should never be supported by a nation made up of immigrants. The reality is that very few Americans can trace their roots back to the Mayflower. Most have pictures of parents, grandparents and great-grandparents that came from Italy, Poland, Peru, Ethiopia or some other country in search of a dream for a better life for their family.
Today, our nation’s tradition on greatness and excellence is threatened by something called “birth tourism,” which has received little attention, yet is very real.
Birth tourism is a system whereby some sell access to our nation for the purpose of allowing expectant mothers to give birth to children within our borders so their offspring are recognized as U.S. citizens and have the same opportunities and privileges all American enjoy.
NBC News reports:
A curious global industry has emerged that caters to wealthy foreign women willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars to give birth in the United States and get instant U.S. citizenship for their babies. The hefty price is worth it, according to these women, because it paves the way for easy access to American public schools, universities and jobs as the children get older and green cards for the whole family once the child turns 21 … NBC News found dozens of web sites offering packages to expectant parents from around the world, including China, South Korea, Turkey and Eastern Europe. They advertise birth tourism centers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, and New York.
This is an affront to our laws and demands an outcry from everyone in our country. We must preserve the integrity and rule of law. Birth tourism has not received a great deal of attention nationally, but has just begun to garner from the ire of some on Capitol Hill. Yet, not surprisingly, legislators have used birth tourism as a means to argue that changes to the 14th Amendment have merit, as opposed to addressing the specific matter at hand, which is not at all atypical for Congress and will not surprise anyone who has observed how it operates for any length of time.
The fact is before engaging in discussion concerning any changes to a law that was passed by Congress in 1866 and ratified by the American people in 1868, members of Congress working under the auspices of conservative reform would be wise to examine and address the practice of birth tourism, who is profiting from selling our sacred rights as Americans, and how to prevent it.
Javier Ortiz is a Republican strategist.
[Photo By nimishgogri]