Art by Alicia Link
If it sounds ridiculous, that's because it is. The Trump admin just granted new powers to visa officials to block pregnant womxn from visiting the United States. The latest attempt to restrict immigration and visitation to the U.S. is now overtly and invasively targeting womxn. This week, we’re talking about how these new rules completely cross the line, the administration’s history of xenophobia, and what you can do to fight back.
Last Friday, the Trump admin added pregnant womxn to its laundry list of the unwelcome, enacting a new policy that aims to stifle “birth tourism.” The new rule directs consular offices to assume that if someone is applying for a tourist visa, and is “likely” to give birth on U.S. soil, they are intentionally seeking this visa to obtain citizenship for the child. Visa officials are then expected to apply additional screening and even ask womxn to provide extra documentation that this is not in fact the primary reason they're traveling to the U.S. All the while, it’s not even clear that “birth tourism” results in significant immigration.
For years, Trump and conservatives have lamented birth-right citizenship, and other so-called “immigration loopholes”—going so far as to argue that childbirth is an actual national security threat. This new policy is undoubtedly invasive, encouraging immigration officials to scrutinize womxn’s bodies while opening the floodgates for discrimination against womxn and weakening immigrant womxn’s rights to reproductive healthcare. To make matters worse, this week the Supreme Court upheld the so-called public charge rule, denying green cards to immigrants likely to need public assistance. Both of these instances are clear attempts by the Trump admin to push the limits of their authority to deny entry into the country.
Immigration and reproductive advocates argue that this policy could compromise the health of womxn and lead to overt discrimination. Here’s what you can do:
—Donate to the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, working at the intersection of repro rights and immigration.
—Vote in the (four!) NY elections this year. Pro-tip: the deadline to change your party affiliation is Feb 14. Make sure you’re a registered Democrat if you want to vote in the presidential primary (you do!). If you’re currently living away from the district in which you’re registered, make sure to request your absentee ballot.