MIAMI — Lured by the charm of little Havana or the glamour of South Beach, some 15 million tourists visit Miami every year.
But for a growing number of Russian women, the draw isn’t sunny beaches or pulsing nightclubs. It’s U.S. citizenship for their newborn children.
In Moscow, it’s a status symbol to have a Miami-born baby, and social media is full of Russian women boasting of their little americantsy.
“It’s really common,” said Ekaterina Kuznetsova, 29. “When I was taking the plane to come here, it was not only me. It was four or five women flying here.”
Ekaterina was one of dozens of Russian birth tourists NBC News spoke to over the past four months about a round-trip journey that costs tens of thousands of dollars and takes them away from home for weeks or months.
Why do they come?
“American passport is a big plus for the baby. Why not?” Olesia Reshetova, 31, told NBC News.
“And the doctors, the level of education,” Kuznetsova added.
The weather doesn’t hurt, either.
“It’s a very comfortable place for staying in wintertime,” Oleysa Suhareva said.
It’s not just the Russians who are coming. Chinese moms-to-be have been flocking to Southern California to give birth for years.
What they are doing is completely legal, as long as they don’t lie on any immigration or insurance paperwork. In fact, it’s protected by the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which says anyone born on American soil is automatically a citizen.
The child gets a lifelong right to live and work and collect benefits in the U.S. And when they turn 21 they can sponsor their parents’ application for an American green card.
H/t reader kevin a.
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