This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Friday, September 27, 2013

Birth "Tourism"

One of the advantages of hanging around students is that you learn stuff you might not otherwise know. No, I don't mean that. I mean things like "birth tourism," which refers to pregnant women who travel to a country besides their own to give birth, so that their child will automatically be a citizen of that country, offering the child (and maybe later the parents) some "options" in life. NPR had a big story about this almost three years ago, talking about wealthy Chinese women coming to the US to deliver their baby.
A whole host of middlemen have sprung up in China to facilitate the booming trade, foremost of whom is Robert Zhou, a Taiwanese businessman.
For roughly $15,000, his company can arrange the hospital in Los Angeles, the doctor, the house and car rental, and any number of other extras for wealthy Chinese parents-to-be.
Since then, government agencies have gotten wise to this and are cracking down. Just last month the International Business Times ran a story about this:
Many wealthy Chinese parents have for years tried to deliver their babies first in Hong Kong, now in the United States, so they could get around China's one-child law and make sure their children are granted either Hong Kong or U.S. citizenship. But now, many of these parents have to get more creative than ever as authorities wise up to the tactic.
But it's not just the Chinese and it's not just the US. Canada is also in the news:
Carrying fraudulent, forged and stolen passports, dozens of Nigerian women began making their way to Toronto not long ago — so many that last year the Canada Border Services Agency identified it as a “trend.”
The women were between the ages of 20 and 35, and were traveling with the help of “facilitation” agents. “The city of Toronto is the main destination for these women because many Nigerians live there,” the CBSA wrote in an Intelligence Bulletin.
These women were, of course, pregnant, and since 1947 any person born in Canada is automatically a Canadian citizen, just as has been true in the US since 1868. I suspect that the average person in the US assumes that most of this kind of activity takes place among Mexican women crossing the border illegally to have their baby in the US. However, as USA Today reported a couple of years ago, there is no evidence that this is widespread.

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