Canada Struggles to Handle Birth Tourism

A new debate has been brewing in the Canadian government. Over the past few years, “Birth Tourism” has become an issue for many Canadians who are unsure about the facts of their background.

The government has begun looking into this phenomenon in order to figure out whether it represents a pressing policy issue for its citizens and the nation.

What is birth tourism?

Birth tourism refers the phenomenon where a pregnant woman in one nation schedules a vacation in another country with the purpose of giving birth while over there “on vacation.” After the child has been born, the mother hopes she will have secured citizenship rights for herself and her new infant in the country she was visiting.

What types of benefits are sought?

If they can establish citizenship in the new country, the mother and child will be entitled to all the rights and privileges enjoyed by a citizen whose parents have lived in that country for many years.

There are only two nations in the industrialized world that grant automatic citizenship to anyone born on their soil. Those two countries are Canada and the United States.

In the case of Canada, many of the women who supposedly engage in birth tourism are interested in the free health care guaranteed to all citizens by the government. They may be trying to establish citizenship for themselves, the baby, and the rest of the immediate family in order to escape poor living conditions or persecution in their country of origin.

In particular, birth tourists from China are allegedly trying to use this scheme to circumvent the one-child policy still in force back home.

Why is the issue drawing attention now?

The biggest reason for the government’s concern would be a perceived financial strain on the Canadian health care system. There have been complaints about birth tourists entering Canadian hospitals to deliver, then leaving without paying the bill.

The bill ends up being picked up by the government and therefore by the taxpaying citizens of Canada. This and controlled population growth appear to be the main concerns that are driving a call for immigration change to control this potential problem.

Arguments against immigration changes

The number-one argument against immigration change stems from the lack of meaningful data about the problem … if there is a problem. Most opponents to the proposed legislation admit that birth tourism occurs. They just aren’t ready to admit it’s a big enough problem to warrant change.

They also feel any attempts to eliminate birth tourism could hurt individuals who are trying to immigrate legally. Anything that would harm immigration could eventually harm the economy, the argument goes. Finally, there’s a fear that any change could leave countless innocent babies without any nationality, because they certainly wouldn’t be citizens in the mother’s country of origin.

In the coming years, immigration policy will be a top Canadian priority. Serious humanitarian and economic issues will be brought to the attention of the Canadian people in order to assure a fair and impartial debate and that a reasonable solution will be found.

Anna Johansson
Anna is a freelance writer and researcher from the Olympia, WA area who loves to obsess about weird topics and then write about them. When she isn't writing, she is outside on her bike and comtemplating her eventual trip to graduate school.

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