An Influx of Pregnant Russian Women to Argentina: They want to Give Birth there
Argentine authorities are concerned about the large number of pregnant Russian women entering the country to give birth as a way to obtain an Argentine passport, the Associated Press and BTA reported.
This week, immigration authorities barred six pregnant Russian women from entering Argentina, arguing that they had used the false pretext of being tourists to arrive, Florencia Carignano, national director of migration, told a local news channel. Following legal proceedings, on Friday a judge granted the green light to a “habeas corpus” petition to allow the six women to enter Argentina temporarily.
“There are many and they come every day,” said Carignano. "Just last night, 33 Russian citizens with pregnancies of about 32, 33, 34 weeks entered the country via Ethiopian (airline) flight," she added.
In the last year, 21,757 Russian citizens entered Argentina. 10,500 of them are pregnant women. In recent months, their number has been increasing. In the last three months, 5,819 women who are about to give birth have entered Argentina.
Anyone born on Argentine soil receives immediate citizenship, and the birth of a child in the country accelerates the process of obtaining citizenship by the parents. The country has the right combination of relaxed immigration laws where Russians do not need visas, provides free universal healthcare and a passport that allows visa-free access to many countries.
The judicial system is investigating whether there is a criminal organization that smuggles Russian women into Argentina.
Authorities stress that officials have no problem with Russian citizens arriving in Argentina, but want to make sure they really have plans to live in the country.
Argentina has traditionally been open to immigrants, but immigration officials received a tip that Russian spies with Argentine passports were being held in Slovenia, Carignano said. In late January, Slovenian media reported that authorities had detained suspected Russian spies. One of the two has Argentine citizenship.
"If we don't start controlling who we give passports to, we will start asking for visas everywhere and the passport will no longer enjoy the trust it has in other countries," Carignano said. Argentinians can now enter 171 countries without a visa.
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