Anchor babies don't exist in any meaningful sense. Birth tourism, however, does. And that's a good thing.Per corollary, Reason's arguments apply with equal force to children carried in the United States by surrogate parents under contract to Chinese nationals. (In case anybody doubted I was mocking the use of the term anchor baby in that previous post, keep reading.) And the administrative difficulties in a child being able to secure immigration rights for his or her parents, 31 years hence, strike Reason's Shikha Dalmia as pretty weak incentive.
No super-reliable figures are available, but the number commonly bandied about puts birth tourist babies at a mere 35,000 annually. Unlike the poor, unauthorized Latino parents of mythical "anchor babies," birth tourism involves relatively well-off couples, the vast majority from China, who come to America when it comes time to give birth so their kid will score U.S. citizenship.
Another benefit for these Chinese couples: Beijing's autocrats don't count children born with other nationalities against a couple's one-child quota. No doubt, a U.S. passport for their newborn is a huge attraction. But America is not the only destination for couples trying to dodge China's draconian birth control policies. Mainland Chinese couples also flock to Hong Kong (all of which the pro-life, pro-family conservative editors of National Review Online should understand and applaud rather than running confused pieces like this conflating "anchor babies" and birth tourists to promote their anti-birthright citizenship crusade).
Immigration restrictionists love to deride "anchor baby" parents for being in the United States illegally. But that's not true with birth tourists. They come here legally.
That is not what I wish to address. Rather, it's this. Birth tourists do not turn up at the emergency room, the way the social-services-folklore has it for the children of illegal immigrants.
[N]one of that applies to birth tourists, who, with few exceptions, pay for the entire cost of delivery out of pocket. In fact, the agency that formed the cornerstone of the Bloomberg story went out of its way to ensure that its clients don't use public money, and keep copious documentation to prove that.And it says something about those parents' perceptions of the future of their countries. To repeat, crony socialism plus dirty air plus bubble economy not good enough?
More to the point, birth tourist babies go home to be raised during their most expensive phase—only to possibly return to America after their 18th birthday, during their most productive phase. In effect, birth tourism allows America to outsource the raising of its citizens, resulting in enormous savings, given that it costs a whopping $300,000 to raise a child in a middle-income family in America today.
Every adult immigrant, even poor Latinos, constitute a windfall for America, given that America reaps the dividends of another society's investment in them. (Indeed, immigration is arguably a far cheaper way than having children for a society to maintain its population level.) But birth tourist babies are a special boon because they are the product of super-ambitious parents who are obviously sparing no expense or effort to build their child's full potential and give him/her options.
The movement of people from places that suck to places that don't suck is one way to reduce global suckitude. It must have sucked to grow up Protestant in Catholic Willenberg, East Prussia.
Thus migration into the United States, which remains a land of opportunity despite the efforts of the political class to turn it into another Greece and the efforts of the academy's deconstructionists to pronounce anathema on the phrase.