DOJ: New York ‘Birth Tourism’ Scheme Secured U.S. Citizenship for over 100 Anchor Babies

MCALLEN, TX - AUGUST 15: A pregnant Honduran immigrant stands in line with fellow immigran
John Moore/Getty Images

A birth tourism scheme in Long Island, New York, helped secure birthright American citizenship for about 119 anchor babies delivered to Turkish nationals over the last few years, a Department of Justice (DOJ) indictment alleges.

The DOJ indictment charges six individuals — Ibrahim Aksakal, indicted co-conspirator #1, Enes Burak Cakiroglu, Sarah Kaplan, Fiordalisa Marte, and Edgar Rodriguez — with operating or participating in a birth tourism scheme that raked in about $750,000 from foreign pregnant women with the promise to secure their children birthright American citizenship.

Through the scheme, which allegedly operated between January 2017 and September 2020, those charged would help pregnant women in Turkey fraudulently secure B-1 and B-2 visitor visas to the United States. Once they arrived in the U.S., they would be placed in any one of the seven “birth houses” that the scheme allegedly operated.

The pregnant Turkish women would pay a roughly $7,500 fee to those indicted, according to the DOJ, and the payment would buy them transportation, housing, medical care, so-called “insurance,” and assistance with helping apply for American citizenship for their newly born child on U.S. soil.

That so-called insurance was actually taxpayer-funded Medicaid benefits, according to the DOJ, which totaled more than $2.1 million over the course of the four years that the scheme was operated.

“This is a brazen birth tourism scheme in which the defendants not only violated our nation’s immigration laws but went a step further, sticking the taxpayers of Suffolk County with the bill for their scam by stealing millions of dollars from the Medicaid program,” Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said in a statement.

About one-in-five U.S. births — or 791,000 — are to legal and illegal immigrant mothers, with legal immigrant mothers accounting for about 12.4 percent of those births and illegal alien mothers accounting for around 7.5 percent.

The U.S. Supreme Court has never explicitly ruled that the children of illegal aliens must be granted automatic American citizenship, and many legal scholars dispute the idea. Trump repeatedly promised to end birthright citizenship through executive action, but the order has yet to be signed.

In January, though, Trump did issue a State Department regulation that prohibits foreign nationals from being granted B-1 and B-2 visitor visas if they are traveling to the U.S. for the sole purpose of delivering a baby and securing birthright citizenship for their child.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder


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