Constitutional ways to curb "birth tourism"

• U.S. tourist-visa approval rates are shockingly high in countries such as China (85%), Russia (88%), Mexico (78%) and India (77%). Consular officers need to screen applicants more rigorously and enforce the public-charge provision.

• Visitors with visas are typically granted an initial stay of 180 days and can apply for six-month extensions. Citizens of many countries, including China, can obtain multiple-entry 10-year visas that allow them to live in the U.S. as “tourists” for years. Granting visitors this much time enables birth tourism to flourish. The countries that send the most birth tourists, such as China and Mexico, shouldn’t qualify for 10-year visas.

• It’s illegal to misrepresent one’s purpose of travel to the United States. So if a would-be birth tourist tells the embassy she’s coming to the U.S. to play in a volleyball tournament, then shows up at the border looking very pregnant, she can be sent home. This provision of the law needs to be enforced more regularly.

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