AS A CANDIDATE for president in 2015, Donald Trump railed against birthright citizenship, a bedrock of US immigration law ever since the ratification of the 14th Amendment. The principle that anyone born on US soil is a US citizen is a sublime expression of American exceptionalism, not to mention one of the noblest achievements of the Republican Party, but Trump spoke of it with scorn.
"A woman gets pregnant. She's nine months, she walks across the border, she has the baby in the United States, and we take care of the baby for 85 years?" Only Americans would be "dumb enough, stupid enough," to accept such a system, he said. Since becoming president, his fulminations haven't let up. In 2018, he said an executive order to unilaterally abolish birthright citizenship was "in the process." He told reporters last year that it was "frankly ridiculous" that children born to immigrants who entered the country unlawfully should become US citizens.
In reality, no presidential order will ever override the 14th Amendment. So the White House is moving instead to stop pregnant women from coming here in the first place.
A new State Department rule, aimed at blocking what it calls "birth tourism," directs consular authorities to deny tourist visas to any pregnant foreigner they believe wants to visit the United States "with the primary purpose" of "obtaining US citizenship for a child." The new rule labels giving birth on US soil an "impermissible basis" for visiting the United States, and puts the burden of proof on the woman to convince American officials that the primary reason for her trip isn't to have a baby. . . .