In an article published February 19 by the Heritage Foundation, Hans A. von Spakovsky has revealed a scam whereby wealthy Chinese officials and businessmen are using America’s birthright citizenship policy to secure U.S. citizenship for newborns of Chinese parents.
The Justice Department has indicted 19 Chinese nationals for immigration law violations in connection with a 20-year scheme to fraudulently grant U.S. citizenship to children from other countries.
The indicted individuals worked for years through three “birth tourism” agencies headquartered in Southern California. For fees ranging from $40,000 to $100,000, these agencies brought thousands of pregnant foreign women to California on bogus tourist visas, then housed them in any of dozens of apartments in the area for months. When they gave birth, their offspring were then automatically granted U.S. citizenship, regardless of the blatant illegality of the scam.
Among the thousands of clients using the scheme were “Chinese government officials as well as others associated with Chinese Central Television, China Telecom, the Bank of China, the Public Security Bureau of the Beijing Municipal Government, and a government radio station.” When Chinese officials and higher-ups are securing American citizenship, the danger to U.S. national security is obvious.
Although a twentieth member of the ring, a lawyer, has already been sentenced to federal prison, the 19 just indicted have already fled to China, which has little incentive to send them back for prosecution.
The real perpetrator in the case, however, is the misguided policy of birthright citizenship itself, which is based upon a misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment. Shared by only one other country in the developed world (Canada), it is a magnet for fraud, and as this case amply illustrates, a national security exposure. It should be abolished.
For more, see the Heritage Foundation.