By Joe Guzzardi
November 18, 2014
U.S. citizenship, one of the world’s most precious and coveted treasures, is being diluted to near meaninglessness through poorly conceived federal policies and shameful fortune seekers who take advantage.
For too long, the U.S. has automatically but wrongly conferred citizenship on children born on American soil to non-citizen foreign national mothers, a practice abandoned by most industrialized countries. Over the decades, that misguided largess has encouraged thousands of women to come unlawfully from worldwide points for the purpose of having citizen children. The birth tourism industry has sprung up in recent years to take advantage of automatic citizenship. Wealthy mothers, in advanced stages of pregnancy, come to the U.S. allegedly as tourists, but actually to give birth. Bewilderingly, Immigration and Customs Enforcement looks the other way even though it’s against the law to lie on a visa and thus enter the U.S. unlawfully. Intermediaries in the birthright citizenship scam pocket healthy profits.
Then, for foreign investors who have at least $500,000, they too can become citizens through the scandal-plagued EB-5 visa. Under EB-5 guidelines, an investor has only to create a new business that generates ten jobs. Once that’s accomplished, the investor and his family have taken the first step toward American citizenship.
Recently, U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services announced the most egregious offense in the citizenship-for-sale debacle. The Obama administration will allow the surrogate birth trade to essentially sell U.S. citizenship, and with it complete access to the cornucopia of welfare and social security benefits to foreign parents who may never have been in the country. Like birth tourism operators, the fertility clinics will collect significant profits while the foreign-born children and their foreign national parents can one day access public schools, healthcare, and retirement benefits into which they have not paid in a single dime.
Enabling the stunning citizenship giveaway is a sudden regulation change which expanded the definition of “mother” to include women who enter into contracts to carry and give birth to other women’s embryos. According to the revised USCIS policy, “a mother who meets this definition but does not have a genetic relationship with her child (for example, she became pregnant through an egg donor) will … be able to transmit U.S. citizenship to her child, if she is a U.S. citizen and all other pertinent citizenship requirements are met.” The USCIS announcement, made jointly with the Department of State, officially titled its policy memo “USCIS Expands the Definition of ‘Mother’ and ‘Parent’ to Include Gestational Mothers Using Assisted Reproductive Technology.”
In the end, the new interpretation means that a reproductive clinic located abroad can hire U.S. citizen women to give birth. The arrangement obviously benefits the child, but it’s also a bonanza for the parents and other family members who could come to the U.S. to live for the rest of their lives and eventually become citizens
As is too often the case, the American public had no voice in the policy change, and doesn’t benefit from it. Neither USCIS nor the State Department offered an explanation, probably because none would satisfy bewildered Americans who don’t understand what motivates the Obama administration to keep watering down citizenship.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]