Over the next few weeks the news cycle will be paralyzed by an impeachment trial that is essentially about foreign interference in our politics. However, the Trump administration has an opportunity to act on one of the most sinister foreign influences in our country, namely, birth tourism, being used by — you guessed it — Russia and China. If foreign influence is of such great concern to Democrats, shouldn’t we all agree to stop the practice of awarding those who lie to get into the country or who infiltrate our border with the ultimate prize of American citizenship?
Over the weekend, Axios reported that the Trump administration might move ahead with a plan to finally end the birth tourism loophole in our citizenship policies. Conservatives would be wise to push the president to enact the most sweeping reforms possible and dare Democrats to oppose his effort to combat the ultimate foreign influence in our elections.
The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that there are roughly 33,000 babies born to tourists every year. No, these are not people who misjudged their due dates and decided to travel here late in their third trimester of pregnancy. These are, for the most part, wealthy foreign nationals, most predominantly from Russia and China, who seek to exploit our senseless policy (not law) of granting citizenship to any child born here, even under such temporary circumstances. That child can then vote in our elections 18 years later and bring in the rest of the family on a permanent basis. Thus, those who tell us they are coming for the purpose of tourism can subvert our sovereignty and unilaterally assert jurisdiction for their children against our will.
If the Trump administration allows this scam to continue. Even if one believes the Wong Kim Ark Supreme Court decision creating a constitutional right to birthright citizenship is correct, the author of that decision clearly stated that it only applies to those consensually admitted into this country for permanent domicile. After declaring a revolutionary right to birthright citizenship for legal immigrants in a bizarre reversal from his own previous opinion, Justice Horace Gray qualified the mandate to grant citizenship to children of those immigrants living here only “so long as they are permitted by the United States to reside here.”
Gray used the term of art “domiciled” 12 times throughout the opinion when defining those covered, in his view, by the Citizenship Clause. As I’ve written previously, Gray’s past writing show that “domicile” means what we would consider today a green card holder, aka a legal permanent resident.