Meet Jennifer Shih, a UC Davis college student born in New York who tells the Sacramento Bee, ‘I’m Taiwanese more than American.’ Back in 1989, Shih’s mother boarded a jet bound for New York, tourist visa in hand. She didn’t arrange her travel in order to take a Broadway show, however; she was eight months pregnant and the goal was to add a U.S.-passport holder to her family. In other words, she was engaging in fraud as admitted by Mr. Shih, who cited the quality of American schools as the impetus. Two months after giving birth Mrs. Shih ‘returned to Taiwan with her U.S. passport–bearing daughter in tow.’
In 2004, when Jennifer reached the age of 15, she returned to the United States to take advantage of U.S.-taxpayer subsidized high schools in Idaho, Utah, and college in California. Understandably, Jennifer—who didn’t speak English when she arrived—describes the United States as a ‘foreign country.’ The reporter who interviewed her notes that ‘even after eight years,’ Jennifer says she still ‘thinks about Taiwan every day’ and visits nearly every year. Jennifer’s honesty highlights the absurdity of a lax birthright citizenship policy and raises significant questions of allegiance and assimilation.
Jennifer’s father has since moved to the United States, presumably as a result of chain migration, which allows individuals to sponsor parents and siblings upon turning 21 years of age. Jennifer says she is interested in having kids of her own who will go to college in America. This is a perfect example of how one instance of fraud from a temporary alien can result in a permanency that was never welcomed by the American public. Birth tourism effectively puts U.S. citizenship policy into the hands of foreigners.