The Trump administration formally issued a new rule allowing customs officials to deny entry to travelers whom they suspect are headed to the U.S. for the sole purpose of giving birth on American soil, The Hill reported.
“A rule issued by the State Department marks the administration’s first formal effort to cut down on the practice known as ‘birth tourism,’ which President Trump has heavily criticized and suggested should be a reason for ending birthright citizenship,” the report added.
In part, the statute reads: “This rule establishes that travel to the United States with the primary purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship for a child by giving birth in the United States is an impermissible basis for the issuance of a B nonimmigrant visa.”
“Consequently, a consular officer shall deny a B nonimmigrant visa to an alien who he or she has reason to believe intends to travel for this primary purpose,” it adds.
In a statement from The White House, the administration wrote “the birth tourism industry threatens to overburden valuable hospital resources and is rife with criminal activity, as reflected in Federal prosecutions.”
“Closing this glaring immigration loophole will combat these endemic abuses and ultimately protect the United States from the national security risks created by this practice,” the White House stated.
It’s unclear how customs officials are to determine whether a traveler is headed to the U.S. for the purpose of giving birth on U.S. soil, though U.S. officials hinted to Axios earlier this week that Thursday’s rule could be just the first in a line of actions against birth tourism.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” a senior official told the news outlet. “Just the legal recognition that this is improper and wrong and not allowed is a significant step forward.”
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“This change is intended to address the national security and law enforcement risks associated with birth tourism, including criminal activity associated with the birth tourism industry,” a State Department official added to Axios.
Lawmakers have previously questioned whether the administration has the right to curb birthright citizenship through executive action, with some — including allies of the president — believing that doing so would require a change to the Constitution.
“I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me it would take a constitutional amendment to change that as opposed to an executive order,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said of the president’s criticism of birthright citizenship in 2018.
The Trump administration recently won a major victory in court while Democrats have continued their focus on the airstrike against top Iranian terrorist Qasem Soleimani.
The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals lifted a lower court order that blocked billions in military construction funds from being used to build up defenses on the southern border.
President Donald Trump celebrated the decision.
From Western Journalism:
For Trump, who made controlling illegal immigration the centerpiece of his presidential campaign and has continued that stance throughout his administration, it was a moment of victory in a long-running legal fight — and he had a judge he appointed himself to thank for it.
According to USA Today, the 5th Circuit’s decision released Wednesday allows the administration to go ahead with its plans to move $3.6 billion in funding allocated for military projects to Trump’s border wall.
The ruling set aside an injunction issued last month by District Judge David Briones in El Paso, Texas, Politico reported.
The Fifth District panel decided the challengers, the city of El Paso and an activist group called the Border Network for Human Rights, lacked legal standing to bring the case.
The 2-1 ruling came from Judges Edith Jones, who was nominated by then-President Ronald Reagan in 1985, and Andrew Oldham, nominated by Trump in 2018.
The dissent was written by Judge Stephen Higginson, an appointee of then-President Barack Obama in 2011.