An Aussie influencer who claims she travelled to Central America to give birth so that she and her child could gain dual citizenship is being heavily criticised for bragging about what people have branded "white privilege".
Shannen Michaela, who boasts 270,000 followers on Instagram — where her bio reads "Health, Wealth and Sovereignty" — posted to her fans promoting "Jus Soli", a latin phrase that means "the right to acquire nationality or citizenship by being born within the territory of a state".
Aussie mum cops heat online
The young mum, who lives in Costa Rica and recently turned 24, said that moving countries to give birth "is an investment" and "provides your child with a second citizenship... even if you as the parent are not a resident of that country".
"Birthright citizenship is the most accessible way to obtain an extra passport," she said. "It is an investment in your family, your child's future and generations to come. With an additional passport, you always have an alternative place to go. You can choose which tax systems you want to be part of and diversify your assets."
Michaela encouraged people to take up what she described as the "citizenship hack", even going as far as saying that "the more passports you collect, the more opportunity you create for you and your family, including generations to come."
"In many countries, parents also gain permanent residency with a pathway to citizenship," she said. "Essentially, it's a legal form of immigration and there are 31 countries that grant birthright citizenship in this way."
Birthright citizenship is a governmental policy that states any child born within a country's borders is automatically granted citizenship in that country — even if their parents are not citizens. Currently, there are over 30 countries in the world that allow the scheme.
Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Jamaica, Lesotho, Mexico, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, the United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela are just some of the countries that have unrestricted birthright citizenship.
Australia is not on this list.
Critics accuse influencer of 'new age colonialism'
But not everyone online was impressed with the new mum's sentiment, with critics accusing her of "new age colonialism" and for being "deeply privileged".
"This is some serious 'what's classy if you're rich, but trashy if you're poor' vibes," a person said in response.
"It's crazy that white people can advertise how to have anchor babies in our countries in Latin America, but the minute the Latinos try to come into white countries they get shot at the border," said another.
"Yeah this is only seen as a positive if you're rich and privileged babe," someone else added.
"So you're going to use a country's tax dollars (that you've never contributed to) for your personal (likely at least middle class wealth) benefit?" a fourth commented.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.