Gov. Ralph DLG Torres remains optimistic that the White House will act against birth tourism, which he said tarnishes the image of the CNMI abroad.
Torres, who spoke with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, noted that he remains positive that the Trump White House will “listen” to his request to curb birth tourism through a change in the birthright citizenship clause, which is embedded in the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment.
“…We have never had an administration that really had the opportunity to come down to the CNMI and watch and listen to address our concerns,” Torres said. “I believe in the leadership of the White House and we…have really good supporters from the [U.S.] House and the [U.S.] Senate. I believe this issue will be addressed and I hope it will be addressed soon.”
“In the last couple of years…this type of tourism [is] just a fraction of our tourism industry but yet those actions hampered the ability…to what we want to portray the CNMI as,” he told the media outlet during a segment.
“It has been more common and frequent the last few years and it has been an issue in the last couple of years,” he earlier noted.
According to Torres, his administration brought up the concern to U.S. President Donald J. Trump.
Last July 17, 2019, the CNMI Legislature approved House Joint Resolution 21-4 in a bid to limit birth tourism in the CNMI.
“The resolution is saying we acknowledge the importance of our tourism—we welcome tourism because that is the backbone of the economy, but to have birth tourism…itself, we don’t appreciate that because it has hurt our healthcare and that is the bottom line of our concern,” Torres said, referring to HJR 21-4.
Torres further added that he believes it isn’t fair to brand people who oppose birth tourism as racists.
“…We welcome them as tourists. But to come in for the sake of giving birth, that is something that we should really be concerned of, and we are concerned because…this is not the type of image that we wish to portray the Commonwealth,” he said.
“We have one of the nicest beautiful beaches, a [temperature of] 85 degrees all year round. We are the most beautiful islands in the Marianas and this is what we want to market—our islands as a beautiful island to [visit]. It’s peaceful, relaxing, [and has a lot of activities],” he added.