Global Immigration Womens Rights

New State Department Regulations Could Restrict Pregnant Women’s Ability to Come to the U.S.

A department official from the State Department and a congressional aide reportedly said Wednesday that the U.S. State Department has a plan that could potentially make it more difficult for pregnant women to acquire visas to visit the United States.

These impending regulations are presumably the most recent in a string of attempts by the Trump administration to decrease the number of foreign travelers to the United States. The administration aims to decrease “birth tourism.”

People who are born in the United States will receive U.S. citizenship (unless you are the child of a diplomat or recognized government official from a foreign country) regardless of the parents’ citizenship status. The U.S. government currently does not record any statistics regarding the number of people who travel to the United States each year with the purpose to gain citizenship for the child, so the scope of the issue is unclear.

According to the State Department official, the Federal Register is expected to feature the new rule “shortly.” Persons holding B1 and B2 nonimmigrant visas (also known as temporary visas for business, tourism or medical treatment) will be affected by the guidelines. According to the Washington Post, 5.7 million B1 and B2 visas were issued in fiscal year 2018.

The new guidelines will provide officials the ability to have discretion when they are determining whether or not a woman is trying to come to the United States solely for giving birth, not necessarily prohibiting all pregnant women to enter the country. How officials will determine this is unclear, especially since consular officers already conduct interviews with visa applicants about reasons for travel and length of stay.

Sources: Washington Post, 1/22/20; Code of Federal Regulations, 1/21/20