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What Happens When America Locks Its Doors to Nigerians Going to Give Birth?

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It’s basically the culture of middle class Nigerians at this point – have your children in the US. What better gift to give your child than a US passport? It’s become a staple. Bankers, doctors, management consultants, business developers, communications officers, journalists, writers, artists – everyone who works a job with a middle-class income. Even those who don’t have the money take loans to get it done.

There are reasons for this quest for US citizenship, of course. On the surface is bragging rights. Who wants to be the silent one in the group when everyone is talking about birthing outside the country? We all want to be a part of the conversation. The kids, too, will have something to say. This reminds of me of a friend of mine from secondary school who would bring along with him to school his birth certificate issued by some hospital in Massachusetts. He’d show everyone: See, I was born in Massachusetts.

But, to be honest, other reasons, some of them logical, exist. How, for instance, the state of things in the country is a mess. Shootings have become a regular occurrence in Abuja. People working in their offices or commuting around the city only to be confronted by teargas and the sounds of bullets. How many Nigerians have died in Kaduna in the past week? The police, charged with the protection of human lives, become people we need protection from. People die after being rejected by hospitals understaffed with exhausted doctors. Rush hour is every hour in Lagos. The roads are awful and the governor is busy strutting around with his waist trainer. No one with the option would want their offspring born into this.

What’s even worse is how these problems are nothing new. They’ve been there since forever. And there’s no relief in sight. Definitely doesn’t look like things will be better in the future. In fact, looks more like things’ll get worse. It makes perfect sense then that people want to secure the future of their kids.

Sure, America has its own problems. You hear of the racism and your jaw is on the floor. Especially with Trump and his obsession with (white) nationalism. His people with their red MAGA hats looking for any excuse trample upon you. There’s also the problem of integration. Are you aware of the problem black immigrants face? Besides the ostracism from wypipo, African-Americans, too, have begun using the term “Descendants-of-Slaves” in a bid to separate themselves from African immigrants. They (African immigrants) are getting opportunities DOS should be getting, they say, and that’s just unfair. Lost in a sea of difference, far from home, African immigrants are often stuck in some kind of limbo. Not accepted here but can’t go back to where you’re coming from, either. But all these can seem inconsequential when every day in your own country is a different trauma. It was Warsan Shire who said no one leaves home unless/ home is the mouth of a shark … you only leave home/ when home won’t let you stay.

Nigeria has made us so de-sensitized to the worst things about mankind. We’ve somehow learned to make inhumanity perfectly human. Like how the Nigerian Army shot and killed protesters in Abuja and people said, Well, they were throwing stones, as if stones and bullets are somehow the same. As if people somehow deserve to be killed because they threw stones at those charged with ensuring their security. Or, the people who died, were they not Nigerians? Look, also, how we’ve made ourselves into a society completely lost in self-interest. It’s like we’re all crammed into a bucket and everyone is trying to make it out. All man for himself. Hence, the lust for wealth. That it is often at the expense of another human is a negligible matter. You see yahoo-yahoo boys on Twitter justify their “hustle” with lines like The government is stealing and no one is attacking them? What’s the difference between a yahoo boy and our rulers in Nigeria? (That’s a direct quote.) Nigeria has taught us that two wrongs, or even more, makes a right.

It makes sense that people want to give their children an out. No prisoner wants his child to be born in prison.

But now that the US President Donald Trump has said he wants to close the doors, though, what’s the alternative? Other countries granting birthright citizenship? Canada? Mexico? Brazil? And what if they, too, decide to close their doors? We’ll find another country? To be honest, I have no idea either. I just know the option of running is not a sustainable one. Especially since it’s not an option open to everyone.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

43 Comments

  1. Tutu

    November 2, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    He should please let me have all my kids before this.. Health care in Nigeria is a death trap. I know people who had their babies abroad and had complications that were solved that said if they had the babies in Nigeria they would have lost their lives. Biko, Trump give me 4 more years abeg.

    • Ovadje

      November 2, 2018 at 10:27 pm

      @TUTU, Trump is NOT trying to stop you having babies in the US. He’s only trying to stop automatic citizenship for such babies – and cannot say I blame the Us on that score!

  2. Tamuno

    November 2, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    But it is truly appalling the rate at Nigeria’s bourgeois and middle class citizens tend to always go to the U S to give birth. A kinda low life thinking i must confess.
    If only the United State can adopt same system as the UAE where any person other than it locals can never be granted citizenship. Then, all these bullshit of flying to the US to give birth would be all gone

    • A

      November 2, 2018 at 6:23 pm

      Coming from someone with no health challenges or complications I guess. After losing 4 premature babies, and almost one’s life to a failing health care system, of course, I don’t need advice before flying abroad for my 5th pregnancy.

      Just don’t throw wide blankets on situations. Reasons differ for people. Even without citizenship, I can assure you people will still go abroad to have their kids because of the utter lack of trust of/for the Nigerian health sector.

    • Ovadje

      November 2, 2018 at 11:50 pm

      @A, the Trump proposal will NOT stop you from having babies abroad (not that premature babies are also not lost in the US). If passed, it will only affect citizenship for such babies. Meanwhile, GOOD LUCK. I am sure that everyone here will be rooting and praying for you!!

    • Amaka

      November 4, 2018 at 2:51 pm

      Why is it bulls— tho. ? The healthcare in Nigeria is not up to standArd at all o…

    • tee

      November 6, 2018 at 11:58 am

      “bourgeois” and middle class…same meaning!

  3. Chi girl

    November 2, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    When this news came out, Nigerians were sooooo triggered lmao.. make everybody stay home abeg

    • Lilo

      November 2, 2018 at 5:47 pm

      Thank you. They won’t fixed their country but they stay pressed about how other countries are choosing to operate. Does that even make sense?

  4. Lilo

    November 2, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    Not a Trump fan but this is long overdue. They need to do what was done in the UK. No birth right citizenship

  5. Nahum

    November 2, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    I blame NIGERIANS for all of Nigeria’s problems. I am shocked at the way people are rallying behind an Atiku presidency. Even if you do not want Buhari, how can you think Atiku is a good option? I don’t feel sorry for us, we deserve the leadership we get

    • Authentic Sunshine

      November 2, 2018 at 6:58 pm

      Nahum you are insightful and correct. How can we even allow such a thought is beyond me. Atiku????? We are dead.

    • Tamuno

      November 2, 2018 at 7:43 pm

      But Mr/Mrs Nahum… I was wondering if your comment is related to the topic. But then i read again and you’re absolutely confirmed to be one of the reasons Nigeria is having, for outrightly and going off point to the topic of discuss

    • Kkay

      November 3, 2018 at 9:14 am

      @Tamuno …. because the same U.S. government conducted a probe on Atiku for money laundering and bribery therefore barring him from visiting their country.
      Do you know the impact of money laundering by political officers on a Third World country? Deepens poverty and diverts money meant for infrastructural development including ADEQUATE HEALTHCARE FACILITIES!

    • omomo

      November 2, 2018 at 7:49 pm

      its been long we heard from you nahum…how are you?

    • nairaadvisor

      November 2, 2018 at 9:45 pm

      and what has Atiku got to do with this..

  6. Viva

    November 2, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    As much as Nigeria is a dreaded place to live for some people, I love Nigeria more and also proud to have my root here. I and my family are based in the US but all the time I always long to be back home. I was born and brought up in Nigeria, had my primary,secondary, and university education in Nigeria but I can’t love Nigeria less even though I live in US with my hubby and kids. I don’t feel at home here, the atmosphere and environment doesn’t give me a home feeling at all. For sure, I have told my husband that I will like us to move back to Nigeria to retire if possible. I will only like to visit America during vacations.
    For Nigerians coming to give birth here, we understand that healthcare in Nigeria is very poor but to a very great extent, there have been a glaring abuse of this opportunities by mostly Nigerians. Now, there are a lot of Instagram pages arranging this for them on a business terms stating the attraction to be citizenship which of course comes along with a lot of benefits and also the root of chain migration. Sincerely, this is not fair to Americans because they spend a lot on their citizens including the Anchor babies as citizens too. If healthcare is the problem for Nigerians, UK healthcare is spectacular and obviously less expensive compared to US.
    Birthright citizenship is a flaw in the 14th Amendment and of course would be visited and corrected someday. This is not in anyway hate for my country people, I’m only irritated by the abuse of the opportunity/constitution.

    • Ovadje

      November 3, 2018 at 12:03 am

      @VIVA, was with you until you termed the 14th Amendment a “flaw”!

      It’s not a flaw in a country built on immigration, and is actually how Donald Trump own father got his US citizenship (his grandfather being an immigrant from Germany). I personally am ambivalent on this particular issue but it is frankly irritating that someone whose own personal life and ancestry is so heavily characterized by immigration (his in-laws Jared Kushner’s father Charles Kushner also being a beneficiary of birthright citizenship after his parents immigrated from Belarus, and his in-laws Melania’s parents benefiting from so-called Chain Migration) would become so stridently anti-immigration when it involves Brown and Black migrants!

    • You never see

      November 3, 2018 at 12:15 am

      A friend said something to me that I now understand- “you can only love Nigeria from afar”. Try to visit non-Christmas period and do so every year not every 5 years. Every year means your relatives get tired of helping you “be comfortable”. You will think twice about moving back. I also had my uni education in Nigeria and recently, I have been visiting about twice every year. Na you go tire

    • bee

      November 5, 2018 at 11:37 am

      My dear dont move back.
      I am a Nigerian and live there with my family.
      I love Nigeria and I have always been an advocate of stay home but I have never seen a success story with returnees except those who got jobs in a very civilized office, New generation bank with global best practice or oil industry or telecoms.

      The system is different and everyone that I know did not find it easy.
      Unfortunately they mostly feel the need to stay and prove a point.

      Just come from time to time and enjoy your holidays. like someone said don’t even make it too frequent otherwise people see you as one of them and do not see the need to make you extra comfortable any more.

      Moreover back home is also not the way you left it. people are now forming posh here too so that communal bond is no longer here, the cultural value is over diluted with western culture, we do not even eat our food like that anymore. So just stay where you are and value what we had growing up.

  7. larz

    November 2, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    I think you will find out that some people will still prefer to give birth or do any planned medical operation outside of Nigeria. It is simply a lack of trust in the system.

    A law I would like to see get passed is that anyone running for key public office (President, Governors, House of Senate and Assembly) must denounce any dual citizenship.

    • Life

      November 2, 2018 at 11:57 pm

      It IS in the constitution of Nigeria! As clear as day that no government official must hold dual citizenship as it conflicts with National interest and dangerous to patriotism and nationalism. It is THERE, I have read it MULTIPLE times,

    • jani

      November 3, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      Actually the law is you must be a Nigerian citizen.

      Nigeria abolished it’s laws prohibiting dual (or more) citizenships a long time ago.

  8. TheRealist

    November 2, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    For the first-time ever, I am rooting for a Dotard Trump policy!

    Of course, he will likely never secure the Congressional super-majority (plus the two-thirds of the state legislative approval) required to amend the Constitution to pass this measure (unless the now ideologically-majority Supreme Court somehow contrives a way to have him bypass a constitutional amendment), but nonetheless if Nigerians ploughed the billions of dollars expended on these Anchor Baby trips into the domestic healthcare system, we would all be so much better for it.

    • Laila

      November 3, 2018 at 2:41 pm

      Trump doesn’t need Congress for this. He will issue an Executive Order, and it will be struck down by an Obama justice, then Trump pushes it to the Supreme Court and WHAM! the SC affirms that the 14th Amendment covers only ex-slaves and their descendants because of the clause “….must be subject to the jurisdiction of the United States”. To qualify as such, a person must have the capacity to be drafted for military service or jury duty. This automatically excludes all foreigners.

      The Court will then ask Congress to apply the Law retroactively. So Congress will have to choose a cut-off year, which I suspect will be one of the years of mass amnesty for illegals being Reagan’s presidency or Obama’s presidency. So it will likely be 1984 or 2008.

      Trump already has a 5-4 advantage at the Supreme Court. The guy is playing 4-d chess and Americans are backing him big time.

  9. Arinola

    November 2, 2018 at 10:53 pm

    @Tamuno….Lets be truthful to ourselves. Our health system is wack!. We are talking about lives here. When u know u can get better health care services somewhere I should not go because We should fix our nation? . If i die how I go take fix am?
    Just few weeks ago my neighbour died during childbirth because of negligence.. Do your research on the % level of women that die during child birth in Nigeria. God willing i aint birthing my kids here..I cant come and die. Nigerias’ current situation is not totally my fault!
    Meanwhile, It would end in praise. Slow and steady !

    • Tamuno

      November 2, 2018 at 11:58 pm

      Hi Arinola… You have a point sha, but it can only get better my dear.

  10. TheRealist

    November 2, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    The author writes: “No one with the option would want their offspring born into this.”

    If you do not want your offspring born into this – you should work hard to fix this! My parents were born into that same US society that folks are rushing off to in a not so distant past (the 1960s) when black folk were still be lynched and hung in public squares in the South, separate bathrooms, water fountains, hotels, and even schools existed for whites and blacks (with the latter being of vastly inferior standards), and stores and lunch-counters routinely refused to serve black folk. In fact, NIGERIANS HAD VOTED IN ABOUT 3 NATIONAL ELECTIONS BEFORE US BLACKS WERE GUARANTEED THE RIGHT TO VOTE (pursuant to the 1965 Voting Rights Act).

    About 20 odd years ago, Rwandans were busy slaughtering other Rwandans in an orgy of genocide. Yet today, less than a full generation later, Rwanda has long ago grown into one of Africa’s (and the Third World’s) leading lights. Nigerians should quit with this interminable Blame Game and get on with the business of fixing Nigeria (if not for themselves, for the offspring they supposedly care so much about, because ultimately Nigeria’s condition is the culmination of the acts of ALL Nigerians (either by commission or omission), and personally I am glad that Trump is kicking them up the “shit-hole” to concentrate their collective minds.

    • Life

      November 3, 2018 at 12:18 am

      You echoed my comment. I wish Nigerians could reason. It is like thinking and logical reasoning is so foreign to us and it baffles me, Nigerians are SELFISH to their basic core. Nobody thinks of the collective, NEVER! Nobody thinks of future generations, nobody thinks of legacy. Paul Allen died few weeks back but people’s grandchildren would remember his name and what he did for the world than they would their grandparents name. He died without an offspring. I want to give up on Nigeria sometimes but no, I won’t. It is the country of my mother and her mothers before. The land of my birth and heritage. I must do something, any thing! When I tell Nigerians I don’t want kids and I prefer short term parenting(fostering), they look at me crazy like ”why would you want to raise some body else’s child”, ” won’t you have your own” etc. All I ever hear from them is me, me, me, me! Of course those are the same stock the government comes from as well. Anyway, I and a few others would start and it would get better, If Blacks could protest for their rights and be granted, If women could protest for voting rights and be heard,then Nigeria would get better.

    • Tijanee Olalekan

      November 3, 2018 at 5:05 pm

      I love You! God bless you for this comment

  11. Life

    November 2, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    Well it is because they have an out that is why the do not care about Nigeria. If everybody was forced to give birth in Nigeria, we would have world class hospitals even if it cost an arm and a leg to pay the bills. After all it costs them a lot to have their kids in the US as well. It is gut -wrenching the way Nigerians chase after wealth at the expense of humanity. Look at people they class as successful? The wealthy people are untouchable in Nigeria an it is sad. That is why people jump through hell and high water to get rich. Instead of Nigerians to think about making life comfortable and sustainable for the lowest ranked members of our society, we think of how much money we can make so we can oppress everybody else. It is unfortunate and very sad. If US and Canada closes its borders, I am 100% sure Nigerian healthcare would improve especially in the area of maternal health where we are lacking excessively. If they make it harder and super expensive to get visas for medical reasons, our healthcare would skyrocket for the better. That I am sure of. I actually wish this is possible but it is not unfortunately. People know they have options so really it doesn’t bother them as long as their offspring have a better life(which is not always the case), the country can rot. Nigerians are exactly like the government they work for. I have seen them in actions and they are exactly the same as the politicians and looters they deride.Really heart breaking but we would be alright eventually. Nigeria has so much potential and we are on the edge! We would get there.

    • NPC #36200

      November 5, 2018 at 2:46 am

      You made a lot of great points! If you don’t mind, I’d like to get in touch with you, if possible. Maybe future collaboration in doing a project or two in Nigeria? You never know! I’d like to contribute for a better Nigeria!

  12. Bowl

    November 3, 2018 at 3:36 am

    @Realist, the most sensible comment here !

  13. Big Tee

    November 3, 2018 at 7:23 am

    Typical Nigerian mentality, “if I’m not going to benefit or feel the impact of something – it’s none of my business”, I’m very sure that majority of the people supporting this new policy will have a different opinion if they have the opportunity to birth their babies in the U.S. I’m not even surprised, Nigerians hate their compatriots with money or any form of advantage.

  14. James

    November 3, 2018 at 7:55 am

    If it was the poor state of Nigeria’s healthcare system that is driving the middle class to go to the United States for childbirth, they would be going to England, Ireland or any of the other European countries since those countries are closer to Nigeria geographically and I might add cheaper in terms of cost. But since those countries have amended their laws to prevent foreigners coming in to easily claim birthrights for their offsprings, no one talks about going to England anymore for birthing.

  15. crystaldrop

    November 3, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Hmmmmmmm………a lot of very sensible and brain-wracking comments.For me , I think its okay if not mandatory to birth your children outside our shores (not just U,S.A) simply because our health system is pretty-much akin to a failed state.

    But what baffles me more,is how business enthusiasts don’t see the opportunity in healthcare.Nigerians spend $1bn a year for treatments abroad.Let’s even say we focus on child births alone and assume its a fraction of the $1bn. What do you think would be pumped back into the economy (in dollars oh) ? Then multiply that dollar value by current/going exchange rate.You do the maths.

    The only thing that gives you an edge over competition (irrespective of the industry and location) is better service,better pricing and excellent customer care. In Nigeria , you pretty much have zero competition because the best of the best medical services (and many others), still falls short of standard (quote me on that).Like it was mentioned above,the thirst for riches has blinded people to true values.Integrity in Nigeria (as other virtues) is scarce but very needed. You run your operations with integrity,you tap a goldmine.Yes it is hard.It is tough.But it is also very possible.

    Though not my intent ,I hope these “two cents of mine” turns-on the bulb in someone’s mind. Only Nigerians can fix Nigeria.

    Have a great weekend People !!!!!!!!

  16. zzzzzzzzzzz

    November 3, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Why are people being so uptight, the anger is because Trump said no automatic citizenship for babies birth on American soil. Nothing stops anyone from going for delivery or to seek medical attention. After all there is what is called Medical Tourism. People are just pained that the citizenship is no more part of the package. I believe it is a welcomed development because our show off at times it too much. My child is a citizen……….. who asked you?

  17. Viva

    November 4, 2018 at 7:07 am

    @Ovadja,
    I termed 14th Amendment a flaw because it’s not well interpreted yet by the Supreme court, because it doesn’t make sense that once an illegal immigrant births in the US, the child is automatically a citizen. Illegal immigrants are not in any way under their jurisdiction because they are not documented and the government is not aware of their presence in the country.
    Also note that native Americans are more livid than Trump is as far as this topic is concern.
    A lot of people benefited from this including Trump and his family, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s been abused by Africans (Nigerian to be precise).
    Someday somehow, this will be revisited and amended to what it should be.
    The same way Nigerians are currently abusing Canada Asylum policy by trooping into Canada illegally even from the US(mostly those that have overstayed their visiting visa time) to file for asylum in thousands. This is very irritating and will definitely make the Canadian government to think otherwise in due time.

  18. Jane

    November 4, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    Why are people so bitter??
    If one can afford to give birth in US, I don’t see it as a problem. The issue here is that some people don’t pay their bills. Whether you are a citizen or not makes no difference. After all some of the so called citizens can’t even afford to send their wards to the best schools in America. Enough of this bullshit please.

  19. Jane

    November 5, 2018 at 12:47 am

    My sister has two kids and there were born in Nigeria. Two of them have good jobs in UK/Canada.
    Your kids don’t have to be American citizens to make it in life.

    • Jane

      November 5, 2018 at 7:32 am

      ***and they were born in Nigeria***

  20. Adedoyin

    November 5, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    @Jane God bless you for your comment. I believe that you don’t have to be born abroad to do well in life. I don’t know what this stress of American citizenship is all about. Are we saying there are no good hospitals in Nigeria where babies would be delivered safely? Please stop all this negativity about Nigeria. Baby deliveries in US is not child’s play, if you can afford it, good luck but don’t run down this country. Some of us did not deliver our babies abroad but we visit UK and US on holidays with these children and we have seen the difference between these countries. It is rather very sad what we are experiencing in Nigeria is because of bad leadership, selfishness, indiscipline, lack of foresight to mention just a few of our faults. God has really blessed this country to have all the facilities and living conditions being enjoyed overseas but we squandered everything. I believe it is not too late for us, but it is our collective effort that will change this country. Mind you, living abroad is not too easy, if those who live there are going to be truthful, they only enjoy good facilities and beautiful living conditions. Nigeria can achieve greatness if only those few thieves and selfish elements amongst us will stop stealing what belongs to us, so that those funds will be diverted to the building of more facilities such as functional and well-equipped hospitals, good roads, power 24/7, good and affordable housing projects, good schools so that those private schools owners will stop being “small gods” Many children will not be born abroad and they will achieve greatness in life. My appeal is that please dont give up on this country. God will take control of Nigeria. Amen

  21. Mycryptodictionary

    February 11, 2019 at 6:00 am

    Its a sign that Nigerians should develop their country or get stranded in future.

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