Birth tourists get instant citizenship for their newborns - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

ROCK CENTER: Birth tourists get instant citizenship for their newborns

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By Anna Schecter
Rock Center

LOS ANGLES (NBC) - A curious global industry has emerged that caters to wealthy foreign women willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars to give birth in the United States and get instant U.S. citizenship for their babies. The hefty price is worth it, according to these women, because it paves the way for easy access to American public schools, universities and jobs as the children get older and green cards for the whole family once the child turns 21.

The women stay at controversial birth tourism centers, often hidden in suburbia. The centers have riled neighbors and ignited outrage on Capitol Hill.  

"They are gaming the system…and people should be put in jail," said Representative Phil Gingrey (R-Ga), one of several members of Congress trying to put an end to birth tourism.  

The United States is the only country in the developed world other than Canada that grants jus soli or birthright citizenship.  The U.S. law dates back to the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, ratified after the Civil War to ensure that all freed slaves and their children would be American citizens.

NBC News gained access to four birth tourism centers in the New York City borough of Queens. The owners, all women, said they know their industry is controversial, but they hope it will soon be recognized and supported by the U.S. government.

Read more about Birth Tourism on the Rock Center with Brian Williams website.

Watch correspondent Kate Snow's report on 'Rock Center with Brian Williams' this Monday, October 31, at 10 pm/9 Central.

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