The Russian birth tourism business in Miami
Lured by the charm of little Havana or the glamour of South Beach, some 15 million tourists visit Miami every year.These people are abusing a wrongheaded Supreme Court decision which said the 14th Amendment made anyone born on US soil a citizen. The Amendment was meant to keep states from abusing freed slaves and was never intended to be used for birth tourism to create anchor babies. It is why Congress should have addressed the issue of citizenship instead of leaving up to a court that only looked at the facts of a particular case and in doing so expanded the amendment well beyond any reasonable interpretation.
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.
It's not just the Russians who are coming. Chinese moms-to-be have been flocking to Southern California to give birth for years.