Shannen Michaela, an Australian influencer currently residing in Costa Rica with her family, has recently ignited a contentious debate after she posted a video titled “Have a Baby and Get an Extra Passport.”
In the video, she discusses how she acquired passports from the UK, Australia, and now Costa Rica, while encouraging expectant mothers to consider giving birth abroad as a means to explore new opportunities for their families and kids.
The concept of “birthright citizenship” is at the heart of Michaela’s video, which she describes as “the most accessible way to obtain an extra passport.” She points out that in many countries, parents or caregivers of children who are granted citizenship by birth can also apply for a passport or the right to remain.
To illustrate her point, Michaela details her personal experience of traveling from Australia to Costa Rica with the explicit intent of giving birth, emphasizing the significance of “Jus Soli,” a Latin term for the law of soil.
This principle is observed in a list of 31 countries, each with varying degrees of restrictions on birthright citizenship. Notably, several countries in the Americas, such as Canada, Barbados, and the United States, grant citizenship to anyone born on their national soil, regardless of their parents’ immigration status.
While Michaela argues that birth tourism can be a means to preserve freedom of movement and provide greater flexibility in managing tax obligations, her approach has not been without its critics.
Detractors have labeled her guide as “privileged” and misguided, with some social media commenters accusing her of promoting “anchor baby instructions for rich people.” This term alludes to the euphemistic practice employed by economic migrants to the United States to gain citizenship.
The controversy surrounding Michaela’s approach highlights a stark division in public opinion.
“If you’re rich, it’s called Jus Soli and it’s looked at positively; if you’re poor, it’s called an anchor baby, and it’s looked down upon,” said one user on social media.
This polarizing perspective raises questions about the ethics and implications of such strategies to obtain dual nationality, leaving society with much to contemplate regarding the fairness and privilege inherent in the practice.