United States President Donald Trump had announced plans to revoke citizenship rights for children born to non-natives on American soil.
According to Washington Post, Trump revealed this in a television interview taped on Monday.
During an interview with Axios scheduled to air as part of a new HBO series starting this weekend, Trump was quoted as saying: "We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits. It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”
According to information from Pew Research Center, estimates based on the latest available Federal Government data show that the number of babies born in the US to unauthorised immigrants in 2014 is around 275,000, making up seven per cent of the 4 million births in the US that year.
However, for thousands of foreigners who desire American residency for their children, according to the provision of the US Constitution, a "baby on the way" is enough reason to get citizenship for such children.
Research also shows that in 1965, the US Congress passed the Immigration Act. When read with the 14th Amendment, babies born on US soil have automatic American citizenship, whether or not their parents are in the country illegally.
However, in the attempt to gain citizenship for their children through birth, it is not unusual to find people embracing immigration fraud, exploiting the health care system and in some cases, place the lives of the unborn children in jeopardy. Varying motivations fuel the race to have children on American soil and Nigerians are not excluded in this regard.
Dr. Fola Adebowale, who is a healthcare consultant at 1st Recon Healthcare Centre, Lagos refuted the claim that better health care facilities constitute the main motivation for many parents seeking to have children within US confines.
According to Adebowale, Nigeria boasts of standard facilities, just as is available in America.
He said: “There are actually a lot of quality standard facilities that people have invested millions of Naira in, and those that can afford it can actually give birth there. But it is somehow like a socio-cultural trend to want to go and deliver in the US. It is not as if there are no facilities here.
“For example in Abuja, there is a kidney specialist hospital and if I’m going to value that hospital, it will be nothing less than N2 billion and because of the huge investment, it might not be affordable for the majority. However, the few elite that can afford such treatment still prefer to go outside the country to benefit from similar facilities.
“Even the people that want to invest heavily in the health sector will be discouraged that those that can afford it will go abroad. It is not encouraging.
"The reason they go there is not about getting quality health facilities and care. It is a socio-cultural thing so that the child can become a citizen and they believe it is the right footing to secure the child’s future."
However, Nigerians have also taken to social media to respond to the declaration by Donald Trump.
Chidiebere Nwobodo wrote: "I love Donald Trump. No one will mess up this country and take his wife to America to give birth to make his children American citizens again. Everyone must stay home and fix this mess of a country we found ourselves in. My wife doesn't need to have our kids in the US for their future to be 'secured'. We should stop consuming abroad what we cannot afford in our own nation."
Aladesiun Ayodele wrote: "The type of bill I am expecting from the European government, especially America, is the bill preventing sick African leaders from taking treatment in Europe."
"This man is going to shape America for good. It is time we die here together with our leader and there families," Ayike Oga Pee posted.
Ikechukwu Emmanuel Nenna wrote: "I love Donald Trump. Let all of us with our leaders that are leaving our infrastructure, education and health facilities to decay die here. I love this gesture. I'm a pure Nigerian with Biafran blood."
Another social media user, Daniel Udoh posted: "My neighbour has not paid his house rent, but has taken his wife abroad to be delivered of baby. If the landlord decides to lock up his compound and travel abroad for medical treatment, I wonder where he will come back to with the 'oyibo' baby. Common sense is not common".