As Thousands of Pregnant Russians Flock to Argentina to Escape War, Authorities Crack Down On ‘Birth Tourism’

Since the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine, thousands of pregnant Russian women have fled their home country, in search of a new home to welcome their unborn child. 

Argentina, with its compassionate immigration laws and visa-free entry, has become one of these second citizenship (and second-chance) havens for expecting Russian families — at least 10,500 Russian women have given birth in Argentina since January 2022, and the numbers continue to rise, according to a report by Spiegel Online

Anyone born in Argentina is automatically granted citizenship and it’s faster and easier for parents to also acquire citizenship. The country also offers good medical care, and it is one of the most stable democracies in Latin America. The Argentine passport is also relatively strong, with the ability to enter at least 170 countries visa-free, including the Schengen Area which is the world’s largest Visa-free zone.

33 pregnant Russian women, all of them in their third trimester, arrived on an Ethiopian Airlines flight in February. A number of them were refused entry and detained at the airport but were eventually allowed into the country when a judge ordered their release. The incident raised the question of whether these women were refugees or just in, “shamelessly,” for birth tourism.

Immigration director Florencia Carignano warned the public of the latter, saying that an investigation has been launched against several agencies to look into what she described as “mafia-like organizations” that charge up to $35,000 for the smooth processing of Argentine passports, even after they leave Argentina.

She suggested that these Russians give birth in Argentina for the second citizenship, and then leave, leaving the lawyer to apply for the child’s and their Argentine citizenship. “The problem is that they arrive, have their children, and then leave Argentina never to come back,” Carignano said. “We cannot allow them to shamelessly lie to us saying that they are tourists when they are not.”

She said that of 10,500 that arrived to give birth, 7,000 left and never came back.

Argentine lawyer Christian Rubilar has criticized the immigration director’s statement, saying that the warning was intended to prevent a further influx of pregnant Russian women. He told Spiegel Online that this violated human rights and the constitution, and explained that the figures given were inaccurate.

“Many of the women leave the country to sell an apartment, open an account abroad, or obtain documents and then come back,” he argued. Immigration authorities did not respond to Spiegel Online’s request for comment.

Russia, meanwhile, has also said that the situation is a “problem.” Nina Ostanina, chair of the Committee on Family, Women and Children, has called on the State Department to take steps toward discouraging Russian women from leaving Russia to give birth elsewhere.

Information for this briefing was found via Spiegel Online, the Guardian, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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