Photo from China Daily
Wealthy Chinese mothers-to-be want their children to have the best start in life to such a degree that they’re crossing the Pacific to give birth.
“Given the quality of educational resources and employment prospects in China, where there is a huge population and harsh competition, I want my baby to win at the starting line by obtaining U.S. citizenship,” said Beijing-based white collar worker and mother-to-be, Wang Rong.
China Daily has reported that a portion of high-earning couples are willing to spend the 100,000 RMB it costs to deliver their babies in the States. The price covers services before departure, medical care in the US and a three-month stay, thanks to the help of a Shanghai-based agency that specialises in transporting these mothers across the ocean.
One high-profile case occurred with Shanghai’s very own Yao Ming, whose daughter was born in the US earlier this year. Netizens did not shy away from debating which citizenship the basketball player should choose for his child. Much to the dismay of various online voices who saw Yao’s daughter’s passport as a matter of national pride, the child now has US citizenship.
The daily reports that parents typically use tourist visas to travel to the US when the mother is in her sixth or seventh month of pregnancy, then stay for 3 to 6 months before returning to China with their new, US-passport holding babies.
The agency, meanwhile, “trains couples to obtain visas and tells them how to handle themselves during US customs interviews.” In the case that customs officers may only grant a one-month stay, local US lawyers are contracted to help families extend their visas.
Conveniently for these families, the US grants citizenship to all babies born on its territory, regardless of their parents’ nationalities. Experts claim around 400,000 babies are born in the US whose parents have foreign citizenship.
These transpacific delivery methods are also adding pressure to alter the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which outlines birthright citizenship, Robert Weller reports in the Huffington Post. Critics, such as Arizona state senator Russell Pearce, have argued the amendment could be a potential incentive for illegal immigrants, whose US-born children would act as ‘anchor babies’ in keeping their parents from being deported.