18 July 2010

Birth Tourism ~ Paying $1,500 for US Citizenship

Eye-opening to read in the Washington Post this piece by Keith Richburg, For many pregnant Chinese, a U.S. passport for baby remains a powerful lure...
"What can $1,475 buy you in modern China? Not a Tiffany diamond or a mini-sedan, say Robert Zhou and Daisy Chao. But for that price, they guarantee you something more lasting, with unquestioned future benefits: a U.S. passport and citizenship for your new baby. [The couple] run one of China's oldest and most successful consultancies helping well-heeled expectant Chinese mothers travel to the United States [...] for a three-month stay in a center -- two months before the birth and a month after. A room with cable TV and a wireless Internet connection, plus three meals, starts at $35 a day. The doctors and staff all speak Chinese. There are shopping and sightseeing trips. The mothers must pay their own airfare and are responsible for getting a U.S. visa, although Zhou and Chao will help them fill out the application form."
While I certainly understand the attractiveness of this generous loophole in the US Citizenship laws, I still don't understand what possible social good favors the spawn of some rich tourist over the thousands of adult, intelligent foreign students studying science, engineering, business and other innovation-oriented fields. While the automatic baby-citizens are useless burdens, the smart, hardworking non-citizen graduates are summarily kicked out of the country. Surely this is stupidity.

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