Journalism of Courage

Thousands of Nigerians Born In The U.S In Trouble As Trump Set To Terminate Birthright Citizenship

President Trump plans to sign an executive order that would remove the right to citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on U.S. soil, he said yesterday in an exclusive interview for “Axios on HBO,” a new four-part documentary news series debuting this Sunday

“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States … with all of those benefits,” Trump continued. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”

This would be the most dramatic move yet in Trump’s hardline immigration campaign, this time targeting “anchor babies” and “chain migration.” And it will set off another stand-off with the courts, as Trump’s power to do this through executive action is debatable many say in Washington.

In an interview monitored by Per Second News in August 2015, Donald Trump said that he doesn’t think people born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrants, or tourists are American citizens.
“I don’t think they have American citizenship and if you speak to some very, very good lawyers — and I know some will disagree — but many of them agree with me and you’re going to find they do not have American citizenship, he said.
” We have to start a process where we take back our country. Our country is going to hell,”  he said during his campaign  for president.
While there are no official numbers on “birth tourism,” the US Center for Immigration Studies estimates that about 36,000 women come to the United States every year to give birth so their children can automatically become American citizens. CIS, which favors lower levels of immigration, reports that “birth tourism” is largely practiced by Chinese, but families also come from Taiwan, South Korea, Nigeria, Turkey, Russia, Brazil and Mexico.


Trump in the interview said that he has run the idea of ending birthright citizenship by his counsel and plans to proceed with the highly controversial move, which certainly will face legal challenges.


He said he would do it by way of executive order though the action would force the courts to decide on a constitutional debate over the 14th Amendment, which says:

  • “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”


Some few immigration and constitutional scholars believe it is within the president’s power to change birthright citizenship.


John Eastman, a constitutional scholar and director of Chapman University’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, said that  the Constitution has been misapplied over the past 40 or so years. He says the line “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” originally referred to people with full, political allegiance to the U.S. — green card holders and citizens.

Most legal scholars think birthright citizenship is a constitutional right from the 14th Amendment which says, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.”
But Trump and some other conservatives have suggested birthright citizenship could be ended by simply passing a law through Congress that defines the clause “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”
Independence Day
“There is nothing in the law that makes it illegal for pregnant women to enter the United States,” said Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She added, however, that the “vast majority” of women hoping for an American child misrepresent the purpose of their visit in order to gain tourist visas. That, Kice said, is criminal.
The United States is in the minority of countries that still grant birthright citizenship.


And that has some Americans deeply upset.


“It’s totally inappropriate to bestow U.S. citizenship on the child without requiring a minimum residency requirement,” said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a group opposed to birthright citizenship.


Stein argued that the 14th Amendment was never intended to undermine immigration controls by “allowing people to manipulate the system so that they could give birth to the people here, even though they really have no attachment to the community.”


Many of these “birth tourists” hail from countries with economic or environmental instability; while some are motivated by the availability of better health care in the U.S., others hope the child may one day serve as the family ticket to the “American dream.”


These children are able to return to the United States at any time to receive opportunities reserved for residents, including free public education during the primary and secondary years, government aid and scholarships. They are also eligible for certain jobs, including many government positions.


An added benefit is that a U.S. passport also allows visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to most countries in the world — 174, according to Henley & Partners, a global ranking firm. Perhaps the most coveted privilege is that these children, when they turn 21, can sponsor a green card for their parents.


Several U.S. and international businesses have seen birth tourism as their passport to wealth. These outfits give promises of healthy babies, with “USA” stamped on their backsides, while charging fees up to $80,000.


Federal authorities raided several birthing houses last year in California, a hot spot for such businesses catering largely to Chinese women.


According to affidavits by federal investigators, the companies offered not just lodging, meals, drivers and translators, but also counseling on how to fraudulently secure visas, deceive U.S. immigration authorities and scam hospitals.


Despite the federal crackdowns, businesses continue to market to a broad range of clients while representing American childbirth as an affordable option. Deluxe Childbirth Services targets African parents with ads promising an “error-free” birth in the U.S. for $6,000 or less. The business, based in California and Lagos, Nigeria, was co-founded in 2012 by a Nigerian woman who herself gave birth to three children in the United States.


“I wanted to give my child an American passport,” said Agnes,  a  Nigerian woman whose surname is being withheld to protect her child. “We believe when we come down there to have our babies, they are sure of a better future.”

Agnes and her baby


Their dream was finally reality: They had a son, one with a “guaranteed” future, she told Voice of America, VOA in an interview.

That’s why, she said, her family looked for ways to cut corners in her pursuit of U.S. citizenship for her younger child. Instead of an agency, Agnes opted to stay with a family recommended by her pastor. She also avoided regular checkups with an obstetrician, even after her pregnancy went several weeks past her estimated due date.

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