MJ Lee of CNN Politics has written “5 Things to Know about the Asian Anchor Baby Controversy,” quoting attorney Gary Chodorow.
Jeb Bush was trying to dig himself out from a pile of criticism for using the term “anchor babies.” But his comments at a press conference Monday only brought heaps of new outrage. Defending himself from charges that he had used a derogatory term stereotyping Hispanics, he told the cameras that “anchor babies” were “frankly more related to Asian people.”
While the term “anchor babies” may be offensive, and while pointing fingers at particular ethnic groups may not be constructive, birth tourism is real.
Gary Chodorow, an immigration lawyer based in China, said he has seen a “very obvious” boom in recent years of Chinese parents seeking to give birth in the U.S. Many of his clients look for his guidance on navigating U.S. immigration laws. “In China, this is a big business,” Chodorow said. “Oftentimes, people who have participated in this and had a child in the U.S. will have serious immigration problems.”
Problems begin when couples listen to the advice of shady birth tourism agencies to lie to the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Customs and Border Protection about the purpose of their trip to the U.S.
In contrast, some foreign parents have legitimate reasons for seeking to visit the U.S. to give birth. For example, some women with high-risk pregancies could benefit from access to top U.S. hospitals. Women who are spouses or children of U.S. citizens or permanent residents may want to be with their relatives during labor and recovery. And some infertile or LGBT couples would benefit from gestational surrogacy in the U.S since it’s banned in China.
Reviewing visa applications to separate valid visitors from ineligible individuals is at the heart of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs’ mission. Where Donald Trump and other Republican presidential candidates are wrong is in claiming that a constitutional amendment is needed. Birth tourism can be addressed administratively.
To learn more about why some Chinese couples seek to give birth in the U.S., the birth tourism industry’s growth, how Chinese birth tourism agencies train couples to misrepresent the purpose of their U.S. travel, what steps the U.S. government should take to warn the public and step up enforcement, and our law firm’s advice for couples, see here.