WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 (UPI) — While thousands of women come to the United States to deliver babies, “birth tourism” represents only a tiny fraction of births, figures show.
In Arizona last year, only 2 percent of the children born in the state had mothers who lived elsewhere, The Arizona Republic reported. That included women from other states as well as those from other countries.
But almost half of those births were at three hospitals in cities close to the Mexican border, Nogales, Tucson and Yuma, the newspaper said. That suggests many of the outsiders were Mexican nationals.
Many immigration critics want to repeal the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship to all children born on U.S. soil.
They describe the children born to non-citizens as “anchor babies,” although parents would have to wait decades before their children can sponsor them for immigration.
The National Center for Health Statistics says 7,400 children were born to non-citizens living outside the United States. That includes births to international students and other visitors as well as birth tourists but not the children of women living illegally in the United States.
The Pew Hispanic Center estimates about 350,000 children born in 2009, 8 percent of the total, had at least one parent who was an illegal resident.