Title

Chapter 6 Chinese Maternity Tourists and Their "Anchor Babies"? Disdain and Racialized Conditional Acceptance of Non-Citizen Reproduction

Document Type

Book Section

Publication Date

1-1-2018

Publication Title

Marginalized Mothers, Mothering from the margins

Publisher

Emerald Publishing Limited

Volume

25

First page number:

91

Last page number:

106

Abstract

The Internet is a site of particularly potent discourses demonizing undocumented immigrants (Bloch, 2014; Flores-Yeffal, Vidales, & Plemons, 2011; Sohoni, 2006). Anti-immigrant discourses have long constructed Latina immigrant mothers as bearing “anchor babies” and burdens to the state. Representing a distinct case of non-citizen reproduction, online news sources began reporting on Chinese maternity tourism in 2011. This form of maternity tourism allegedly involves wealthy tourists visiting the United States to give birth to their children on US soil. In this chapter, I analyze online comments in response to Chinese maternity tourism. I ask, how do online commenters make sense of Chinese maternity tourism? I find that online commenters overwhelmingly demonize Chinese maternity tourism by including this practice into broader debates about “anchor babies” and the reforming of birthright citizenship. Some commenters also use race-specific tropes and malleable claims about class to construct the children of Chinese maternity tourists as a paradoxical asset or threat to the country, often comparing them to the children of undocumented Latina mothers. When commenters employ Asian-specific stereotypes, some commenters offer a racialized conditional acceptance of maternity tourism, revealing that while citizenship is policed among the citizenry, it can also be expanded precariously and problematically.

Keywords

Chinese maternity tourism; Birthright citizenship; Asian Americans; Online discourse; Anchor babies; Immigrants

Disciplines

Chinese Studies | Immigration Law

Language

English

UNLV article access

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