Friday, August 9, 2013

Anchor Babies and "Birth Tourism"

We know it is common practice amongst foreigners to do this, but why do Western countries tolerate this? It used to be a practice to halt air travel to women seven months pregnant and beyond to travel. But, it seems we are generous with our travel visas, AS WELL from Third World countries in order for them to arrive on the Western shores earlier and stay longer. (Which, also hides their pregnancy status).

‘Birth tourists’ believed to be using Canada’s citizenship laws as back door into the West ~ Stewart Bell, August 8, 2013

TORONTO — 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.
But what made the CBSA’s Migration Intelligence Section classify the various incidents as a trend wasn’t that the women were all young or Nigerians or that they were trying to slip undetected into Canada using bogus travel documents.
It was that they were all pregnant.
The three-page CBSA bulletin, titled “Movement of Pregnant Women of Nigerian Origin,” did not speculate in detail on why so many expectant Nigerians were going to such lengths to get to Toronto, but it said the pattern was “reminiscent” of an attempt to exploit birthright laws.
In other words, the women were believed to be “birth tourists.” They wanted to deliver on Canadian soil so their children would be Canadian citizens. In addition to receiving all the benefits of citizenship, when they became adults their “Canadian” children could also sponsor the parents to immigrate.
Aside from the United States, Canada is the last remaining developed nation that still grants citizenship to everyone born in the country, regardless of the circumstances. As a result, giving birth in Canada has become, to some, a back door into the West.
Foreign-language websites now offer to house pregnant mothers close to hospitals in the “maple syrup kingdom,” while listing the social welfare benefits available in Canada — free education, free health care, child benefits, old age pension. Many of the websites offer toll free calling from China.
Sean Kilpatrick/CP/Files
Sean Kilpatrick/CP/FilesChris Alexander: “Birth tourism undermines the integrity of our system and takes advantage of Canadian generosity.”
“The best gift you can give your newborn is a Canadian passport,” reads one such website, which rates Canada favorably against the U.S. since the latter offers relatively poor welfare benefits and the costs of living and education are higher.
But as countries like Ireland and Australia have repealed their birthright laws, Canada has begun asking whether it’s time to do the same. Chris Alexander, who became minister of citizenship and immigration last month, told the National Post he intends to look into the issue as part of the government’s attempt to increase the value of citizenship.
“Birth tourism undermines the integrity of our system and takes advantage of Canadian generosity so this is certainly an issue that I will be considering carefully going forward,” he said in a statement released by his press secretary, Alexis Pavlich.
Michael Niren, a Toronto immigration lawyer, isn’t convinced it’s a serious problem. “It’s politically sexy to raise this issue but really in the grand scheme of things … I don’t feel that this is an epidemic, that people are just coming to Canada en masse to give birth and then to take advantage of the law.”
The government review began under Mr. Alexander’s predecessor, Jason Kenney, who had asked his department to see what could be done. Earlier this year, Nicole Girard, director general of the citizenship and multiculturalism branch, began canvassing hospitals and medical associations for their views.
The responses suggest it is a problem across Canada but that nobody really knows how widespread it has become. “We have seen increasing examples of ‘birth tourism,” wrote Jo Watson of Sunnybrook Health Science Centre in Toronto, adding the hospital’s finance department was concerned because some of the women left without paying their bills.
“Yes we see it — and the hospital is very concerned,” wrote Dr. Jon Barrett, division chief of material fetal medicine at Sunnybrook, according to a copy of the correspondence that was released under the Access to Information Act.
 Another response, this one from a Quebec hospital, said women from Haiti and francophone North Africa “frequently” arrived in advanced stages of pregnancy. The letter described how a woman from Morocco went into labour before her plane had even landed in Montreal. An ambulance brought her straight to Sainte-Justine Hospital. “Welcome to Quebec! … I think we should revisit this policy and grant Canadian citizenship only to children whose parents reside here.”
The British Columbia Medical Association did not respond to the immigration department’s request for feedback, but Dr. Shelley Ross, who was then the association’s president, wrote a passionate letter in her personal capacity as a physician who averages 300 deliveries a year.
She deplored the “birth houses” that operate in the Vancouver area and the foreigners who arrive at hospitals requiring emergency Cesareans and then leave the country with their “Canadian” babies but without paying their hospital bills. “Birth tourism is alive and well in British Columbia and makes a mockery of Canadian citizenship,” she wrote.
Omar Kadr is a prime example of Anchor Babies (my caption)
She went on to list the problems associated with birth tourism, including the delivery rooms, operating rooms and postpartum wards taken up by baby tourists. “We do not have the resources to take care of them,” she wrote.
She also said some of the women turned up at hospitals asking for elective C-sections. They would be turned away because they had no medical plan but then returned when they were in labor, requiring an emergency C-section, she said. “As doctors are not allowed to refuse care in emergency situations, those involved often go unpaid. Likewise, the hospital bill is not paid.”
Some doctors will take on such patients and charge them a higher fee, which is collected before labour, she said. But the fee does not cover the costs of the anesthesiologists, pediatricians or surgery assistants.
A longtime physician in Burnaby, B.C., she said it was “well known that there were birth houses” where pregnant women come and go, and she was surprised investigators could not determine who was running them and put them out of business.
“Not only is it taking space from those who should be getting care because they’ve contributed to the system all their life, but when they reach the age of majority all of a sudden they have every right that every other Canadian has,” Dr. Ross said an in interview. “Fair is fair. If you contribute and you expect to receive care, that’s one thing. But to come in and use the system to your advantage and never give anything in return is not right.”
CBSA officers posted abroad have been trying to identify and intercept baby tourists destined for Canada. The first pregnant Nigerian traveller was caught in 2007. Since then, the CBSA has identified many more in France, Germany and Italy who were trying to come to Canada on false documents.
(RFB Insertion)
“The women were using various fraudulent schemes to travel to Canada,” the CBSA wrote in its March 2012 bulletin. “This is reminiscent of the movement which occurred in Ireland in the 1990s, when pregnant women of Nigerian origin travelled to Ireland to give birth to their child and then benefit from the immigration opportunities available in that country, meaning, they obtained Irish citizenship through their child.”
Fabian Nwaoha, president of the Nigerian Canadian Association of Toronto, said the report was mistaken. “The Nigerian community, they have their own immigration challenges like any other visible minority group here, but the issue of birth tourism is not one of them.”
The report said that while CBSA officers had intercepted “over 30 pregnant women of Nigerian origin” in Europe between 2009 and 2011, it was unclear how many had slipped into Canada undetected to give birth.
“At this point, based on the intelligence gathered, the scope of this phenomenon cannot be accurately measured because we cannot count the number of pregnant Nigerian women who have used this fraudulent method and successfully sidestepped obstacles at the border.”

No comments:

Post a Comment