I’m really not sure where I was this last January when stories again hit the real papers (the first ones appeared in September of 2017) about the “birth tourism” wave hitting Miami (in particular) among Russian families of means. This story ran in “This Week” via NBC news in mid January of 2018:
A growing number of pregnant Russian women have been traveling to Miami to give birth, with the wealthier ones buying birth tourism packages and those of more modest means putting together DIY packages. Giving birth in the U.S., and Miami in particular, is a status symbol in Moscow, NBC News reports, and the big draw is birthright citizenship…. And when they turn 21 they can sponsor their parents’ application for an American green card.”
Now, if you live in Cleveland and can afford to fly down to Miami for a little rest, relaxation, and …what? Three weeks or so of “I’ll be having a baby very soon,” freedom, you are doing extremely well in America. Let’s now imagine how well off the Russians who fly to Miami to have their babies must be. They, after all, must first procure a VISA, or some sort of lawful entry into the country. That’s certainly not impossible to get, but it takes forms, and all kinds of stuff that can take time unless …
Wait for it, because you know it is coming …
Trump-branded condos in Miami, especially its Sunny Isles Beach area — dubbed “Little Russia” — are especially popular birth tourism bases for women who can afford the rent. Some Russian birth tourism outfits tout the Trump name in their packages. “There is no indication that Trump or the Trump Organization is profiting directly from birth tourism,” NBC News says, though The Daily Beast notes that Trump’s company “does benefit from Russian patronage of the nearby Trump International Beach Resort.”
That would be – and until perhaps the last three weeks was – a curious story, among hundreds, that could be looked into about whether some “grease” was used to get some deals on coming to the U.S. (for the right Russians, of course) to have American babies. Again, these must be fantastically rich Russians, life could not be better.
And that, will be the last somewhat light-hearted note in this column.
We have caged babies, confirmed AGAIN today, in this country. They came because their parents aren’t rich. They spend every penny fleeing gang-filled gorilla warfare or gang-controlled neighborhoods in Central America, giving everything they have, which is practically nothing, on a life or death rush to the United States for refuge from the worst abuses imaginable to a parent. Little boys collect aluminum cans for money to give to gangs, or to mom and dad, in order to eat. What happens to little girls is worse.
MSNBC reported that the total number of refugees seeking entry into the U.S. this year, was around 50,000 – “not enough to fill a football stadium.”
Somehow, this constitutes a national crises worthy of ripping babies – and losing them – out of the arms of mother. The United States, in all its glory, wealth, and utter “hugeness,” cannot possibly withstand the onslaught of refugees, the total of which would hardly register as a small city in any state in the union. And yet; “We’re closed!” yelled an unhinged Trump to his Homeland Secretary during a cabinet meeting.
Yeah, but not totally, only to certain types. If you’re unfortunate enough to be that type, we’re not just “closed,” but we’re inhumane and cruel, territorial animals, all in order to re-enforce that we’re “closed” to all brown babies from war-torn Central America.
But, if you already have hundreds of millions, or a billion dollars (ironically, a sum that would likely cover a whole lot for those 50,000) and come from connected Russian families, and especially if you’ll populate all those great condos that our president happens to associate with, we’re more than open. We will make it easy.
I hadn’t really registered the Russian birth tourism story. But, juxtaposed against the practices of our government, committing what I consider international crimes in our name, and the fate of all those poor children that tonight, right now, are crying because their parents are not around, in fact, very few adults of any type, are around. How many four year olds can one adult feed, bath, comfort, and watch? Maybe five? At most? I don’t even want to think about what the ratios might be. These kids will be traumatized for life (some of them, anyway), how can one NOT think about the two stories side by side?
A child is a child is a child. We don’t pick our parents, or place of birth or …, and yet something like the color of skin, and money, money money money, means everything, even if you’re just four years old. Not here, not anywhere.
It’s happening now, in your name, and mine. It shouldn’t be this way, anywhere, but will continue until we stop it.
EDIT TO ADD
It only gets worse the deeper I look: Per an NBC News report from Miami this last winter.
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.
Yeah, try El Paso in the middle of summer, having your baby, then having bonded with it over months, have it taken away, and you sent home with a “Trump promise” to get that baby right back to you.
My god I am so angry. I want to throw up. Or throw something.
Oh, and I so promise that I will be following-up on this via Twitter and elsewhere, @MiciakZoom