Police doctor draws flak over US citizenship for son
Thais in US cry 'immigration fraud' after viewing Facebook post by high-profile officer
“Mum, can I be born in Miami?” reads the message posted on Facebook by Pol Lt Col Anchulee Theerawongpaisal, who encourages Thai women to have babies in the US so they can get US citizenship. (Photo from Facebook หมอแอร์)
A former deputy police spokeswoman is facing criticism after urging Thai women to deliver babies in the United States as she did so that their newborns can get American citizenship.
Pol Lt Col Anchulee Theerawongpaisal, who is now a doctor attached to the psychiatry and drug therapy unit of the National Thai Police, is a local internet celebrity. She is an emcee for TV programmes and has also had a stint as an actress.
She recently posted a message on Facebook encouraging Thai women to deliver babies in the US as she had done. In the post, which was later removed, she offered free advice to anyone who was interested and posted a photo of her son Alexander.
The post also contained a link to the “Have My Baby in Miami” website, which offers delivery programmes in the Florida city. The website, however, offers only packaged medical services and does not highlight citizenship as a selling point.
The post, which was shared a few hundred times, drew several comments, mostly negative. Some commentators viewed the plan as taking advantage of a legal loophole while others questioned her patriotism and asked how a civil servant had managed to take such a long leave to deliver her son abroad.
Thais living in the US on Thursday lodged an online We the People petition asking the White House to revoke the American citizenship of her son. “This is immigration fraud by misrepresenting the purpose of her visit to gain entry,” reads the petition.
Pol Lt Gen Vitoon Nitivrangkul, head of the Police General Hospital, said he was aware of the case and was waiting for Pol Lt Col Anchulee’s supervisors to investigate whether she had applied for leave correctly and to determine whether her invitation to others to act like her was appropriate.
AVM Ittiporn Kanacharoen, secretary-general of the Medical Council of Thailand, said the council would look into the case and decide whether it was an ethical breach.
Washington has been taking drastic action against so-called birth tourism. "Anchor babies", children born to a non-citizen mother in a country that has birthright citizenship, can later help the mother and other family members gain legal residency when they grow up.