. Medical and Hospital News .

California targets Chinese 'maternity tourism'
by Staff Writers
Los Angeles (AFP) Feb 8, 2013

Six pregnant Asian-looking women cross the road. Two others cross in the opposite direction. In a nearby store, about 10 compare baby clothing.

Something is happening in the suburbs of Los Angeles.

Nearby, a string of so-called "maternity hotels," where Asian women -- often Chinese and Taiwanese -- come to give birth to babies who will automatically acquire a US passport -- has recently drawn the attention of authorities.

There is nothing illegal about foreign women giving birth in the United States. But federal officials are investigating possible related crimes, while local officials say planning regulations may have been violated.

Since December, there have been 64 complaints, mostly involving the districts of Hacienda Heights and Rowland Heights, Alex Garcia, an LA County planning department official told AFP.

Inspectors entered 16 of these lodgings for pregnant women, and found that five of them were operating as boarding houses for Chinese or Taiwanese women, he said.

A 26-year-old woman, seven months pregnant, who offers the pseudonym Xui Li, has just arrived from Beijing, to give birth on US soil. As other compatriots, she hesitates before discussing the reason for coming with her.

But in the end she opens up -- not giving her real name, of course -- as she browses in the stroller aisle in a store across the road from Pheasant Ridge, where she lives.

"It's my choice for my baby. Maybe later he can have a good education. US has the best universities in the world. In the future, maybe he can come here if he wants," she tells AFP.

As US citizens, her baby will be eligible for college loans and grants. And her parents will be able to apply for a family visa, if they want to settle in the United States.

A couple, who also ask not to be named, say their reasons are different.

"We want to have another child. After the birth of a child, it's not possible," he says, referring to China's one-child policy -- which only counts the number of officially Chinese children.

"If the child is born in a foreign country, the Chinese (officials) are not going to ask for ID," he added.

USA Baby Care, which has a hotel in Anaheim -- near Disneyland, south of Los Angeles -- offers lodging and prenatal care for expectant mothers -- but offers other reasons to convince Asian women to give birth in the US.

"In the case of political instability or unrest, US citizens enjoy the protection of the US government," it says on a Chinese-language website, which has a picture of a baby next to the Statue of Liberty and US Capitol.

"Even if there is an airspace shut-down, they enjoy priority to get on a plane to leave," notes the service, which has prices ranging from $14,000 to $22,000.

But mothers, like the organizations or people who house them, run serious risks with US authorities, depending on exactly how they go about it.

"There is nothing in the law that makes it illegal for pregnant women to enter the United States," Virginia Kice, regional spokeswoman for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told AFP.

"However if a pregnant woman or anyone else uses fraud or deception to obtain a visa or gain admission to the United States, that would constitute a criminal act," she added.

"Likewise, that would also be true if someone conspires with others who then commit fraud on his or her behalf.

She noted that the "focus on in any visa fraud probe would be on the instigators or organizers, since that is key to disrupting and ultimately dismantling the criminal activity.

"Often the defendants who orchestrate such schemes face violations beyond just visa fraud," including possible conspiracy, money laundering, and making false statements, she added.

As for those who rent lodgings, they are often in purely residential neighborhoods where commercial activity is illegal. Such services could face prosecution for tax evasion, said Garcia.

But inspectors then face the task of proving that they really are renting out rooms -- difficult if they are not allowed in, if they say they can't speak English, or agree among each other to say they are family member or friends.

In those cases no action can be taken, he said.


Related Links
Hospital and Medical News at InternDaily.com

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Get Our Free Newsletters
Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear


MU scientists build harness for powerful radiation cancer therapy
Columbia MO (SPX) Feb 06, 2013
We've all heard that "it's not wise to use a cannon to kill a mosquito." But what if you could focus the cannon's power to concentrate power into a tiny space? In a new study, University of Missouri researchers have demonstrated the ability to harness powerful radioactive particles and direct them toward small cancer tumors while doing negligible damage to healthy organs and tissues. The s ... read more

Smartphones, tablets help UW researchers improve storm forecasts

Rescuers struggle to aid Solomons quake victims

HDT Global Awarded Guardian Angel Air-Deployable Rescue Vehicle Contract

Sri Lanka rescues 138 stranded on sinking boat: navy

Lockheed Martin Completes Major GPS III Flight Software Milestone

Trimble Introduces High-Accuracy Correction Service For Agriculture

MediaTek Announces World's First 5-in-1 Multi-GNSS Receiver

Fleet Managers Able to Track Drivers' Hours with Vehicle Tracking Systems

Finding the way to memory

New Geology study raises questions about long-held theories of human evolution

3D printing breakthrough with human embryonic stem cells

Alternate walking and running to save energy, maintain endurance

Indonesian Komodo dragon attack leaves two hospitalised

Man's relationship with nature has gone wrong: Jane Goodall

Vultures foraging far and wide face a poisonous future

France reshuffles the pack in bid to end wolf wrangle

New device traps particulates, kills airborne pathogens

UNC scientists unveil a superbug's secret to antibiotic resistance

Pandemic Controversies: the global response to pandemic influenza must change

Study shows climate change could affect onset and severity of flu seasons

China needs 'full-scale' reform to fight inequality

China bans ads on gift-giving to officials: media

China province stops some labour camp terms: media

US envoy cautious over hopes for China reforms

Japan police arrest mobster in Fukushima clean-up

Mexico scrambles to stem violence near capital

11 kidnapped Sudanese freed in Darfur: media

Britain earmarks $3.56M for anti-piracy

China PMIs indicate recovery continues

Asia manufacturing eases in January

China house price rise accelerates in January

Japan hails upbeat data as turning point

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement