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Old 05-25-2002, 11:12 PM   #1
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American citizenship...for the right price?

According to an article in the LA Times today, it has become very fashionable for upper class, well-to-do North Korean women to come to the United States during the latter stages of pregnacy specifically to give birth to a US citizen.

Their reasons for doing so range from avoidance of mandatory military service, getting their children into the best American schools to a better chance at future residency in the US.

These women time their trip to the US (on a 3 month tourist visa) for the last few months of their pregnancy, disguised by baggy clothing to get around the flying restrictions and return home immediately after the birth. US Immigration says "there is nothing inherently illegal about coming to the US for the sole purpose of giving birth to a US citizen" therefore the practice cannot be limited or stopped.

The practice has become so common that there are now "faciliators" who help direct the women to a Korean speaking ob/gyn, obtain the birth certificate and Social Security card, etc. There is even a special hotel which caters to the women after they give birth including a limo ride to the airport when they are aready to go back home. The average cost of the trip and the birth is $20,000, usually paid in cash.

There are over 5,000 of these births each year which works out to 1 in 10 North Korean children being born a US citizen. A child can have dual US/Korean citizenship until the age of 18 and then must choose one or the other. Obviously if someone pays this much money to give birth in foreign country, the chance of them holding onto the their Korean citizenship is slim and none.

Obviously only the wealthiest north Korean families can do this which leaves the poorest wondering if their sons will be the only segment of the population to serve the mandatory military service.

I know that America is supposed to be the melting pot and I know that if it wasn't for my ancestors coming here from Europe, I wouldn't be here but is it right for someone with enough money to buy their ticket to the US by giving birth here? Do other countries have this "if you're born here, you're a citizen" policy?

I'm not anti-immigrant by any means. I just wonder why this country issues visas to well off "tourists" who are here with an ulterior motive and I couldn't get a visa for my former mother-in-law in Mexico to visit over the Christmas holidays. Apparently our government feels that if you are wealthy enough and own property in your native country, you have something to go back to but if you're a poor person with nothing but a 1 room dirt floor house, you don't have any reason to go home so you'll overstay your visa.

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Old 06-03-2002, 06:28 AM   #2
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This isn't just a wealthy thing. Its not even a new thing. Poor women from Mexico have been doing this for years. They even come here illegally while up at a hospital in El Paso or whever and of course most hospitals aren't going to turn her away..and poof! Another American is born...and it gives the whole family a reason to come and live here legally. The INS started to crack down on this but some are still slipping through.

This thing about Koreans is rather strange though...if they have that much money you would think they would be doing ok in their own country. I would think only great need would make someone do something so drastic... Why all the bother of involving the US? I don't hear of Canadians trying to sneak around so their kid can be a US citizen....

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Old 06-03-2002, 03:04 PM   #3
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Old 06-03-2002, 04:34 PM   #4
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Originally posted by dream wanderer
This isn't just a wealthy thing. Its not even a new thing.
True. And it goes for a lot of other nationalities. Not just Koreans or Mexicans.
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Old 06-03-2002, 06:12 PM   #5
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This is the strangest thing I ever read. I'm Dutch and in Holland, if you are born here and your parents have another nationality, for example Turkish, then you're automatically Turkish. (I hope i'm right !) You can have thje Dutch nationality when you ask for it.(That doesn't count for 'new'immigrants) Or a double nationality. It isn't like ;when you are born in Holland that you are automatically Dutch.
I'm actually glad for tis North Korean kids. They don't have to serve for a dictator!!
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Old 06-05-2002, 12:04 AM   #6
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I am an American, but I am going to get my Irish Citizenship soon. I am going to be moving there because of my job (not just because U2 are there). I am able to get it because my grandfather was born in Ireland.

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