United States President Donald Trump on Thursday unveiled new visa rules aimed at restricting pregnant women from travelling to America to give birth, AFP reported. The policy will take effect on Friday to curb the alleged practice of “birth tourism”.

Foreigners were using the visas “to secure automatic and permanent American citizenship for their children by giving birth on American soil”, White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. “The integrity of American citizenship must be protected.” Anyone born on American soil is granted US citizenship.

Temporary visitor visas (B1 and B2 visas) will no longer be issued to “aliens seeking to enter the United States for ‘birth tourism’,” the White House said, adding that the practice was a “glaring immigration loophole”.

“The birth tourism industry threatens to overburden valuable hospital resources and is rife with criminal activity, as reflected in federal prosecutions,” the White House statement said. “Closing this glaring immigration loophole will combat these endemic abuses and ultimately protect the United States from the national security risks created by this practice. It will also defend American taxpayers from having their hard-earned dollars siphoned away to finance the direct and downstream costs associated with birth tourism.”

The US has also tightened the rules for those who wish to visit the country for medical treatment. Visa applicants must prove that they have the means and intent to to pay for their treatment. They must also be able to convince consular officials that they have arranged for a doctor.