HomeAsian AmericansNew immigration rules target pregnant women and immigration advocates

New immigration rules target pregnant women and immigration advocates


Views from the Edge

Pregnant women are the latest targets of Donald Trump’s harsh immigration policies. The administration is also want to make it harder for immigrants or refugees to find legal help.

The Trump administration on Thursday published new visa rules aimed at restricting “birth tourism”, in which women travel to the United States to give birth so their children can have a coveted US passport.

“This ugly development is ultimately an issue of racial profiling of Asians. The Trump administration will go to any lengths to demean immigrant women. Millions of Asian people come to the U.S. to visit their families and targeting them because of their race or country of origin is discriminatory and wrong,” said National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum Executive Director Sung Yeon Choimorrow in a statement.

As an immigrant woman who has experienced harassment at an airport when I was pregnant, this incident and the administration’s rule are disturbing, invasive, and reveal the coercive and invasive methods that our government will use to enforce the new rule,” Choimorrow’s statement continued.

“This administration has a track record of detaining pregnant people and has made it impossible for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to seek asylum. There is no justification for the harm they have done to immigrant women or for their xenophobic agenda.””

Visa applicants will be denied tourist visas if they are determined by consular officers to be coming to the US primarily to give birth, according to the rules in the Federal Register. It is a bigger hurdle to overcome, proving they are traveling to the US because they have a medical need and not just because they want to give birth in the country, according to Al Jazeera.

Trump’s administration has attempted to restrict most forms of immigration. Birthright citizenship, which is embedded in the US Constitution – anyone born in the US is considered a citizen. Trump has threatened to go against the Constitution in order to end that right, but scholars and members of his administration have said it is not so easy to do.
Consular officials be placed in a nearly impossible position of having to visually determine if a woman is pregnant because they are not allowed to asked a visa applicant if she is pregnant.

Trump also wants to make it illegal to offer legal help when people have problems with immigration rules or their status in the US, 

Advancing Justice | AAJC (Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC) filed an amicus brief Jan. 22 before the Supreme Court in United States v. Sineneng-Smith to urge the Court to strike down a federal statute that makes it a felony to “encourage or induce” individuals to enter or remain in the U.S. unlawfully.

This statute has the potential to chill the everyday work of immigrants’ rights advocates and service providers who often assist undocumented individuals, their families, and their communities. The brief was joined by 33 community-based, advocacy, and social services organizations.

“This statute threatens everyday interactions with immigrants and people advocating on behalf of them because any speech that could be construed as helping an immigrant stay in the United States would be seen as a violation of the law,” said Niyati Shah, assistant director of legal advocacy at Advancing Justice | AAJC. 

“In a time where there is already so much fear, immigrant communities and their advocates should be able to receive legal help and information without fear that such help will subject them to prosecution.”

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