News / USA

California Cities Crack Down on Unlicensed Maternity Hotels

California Cities Crack Down on Unlicensed Maternity Hotelsi
X
March 28, 2013 11:06 PM
Unlicensed maternity hotels that cater to women from Asia have sprung up around the United States, especially in California. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles that local officials are cracking down on the maternity hotels, which offer the promise of US citizenship to newborn babies
Mike O'Sullivan
Unlicensed maternity clinics that cater to women from Asia have sprung up around the United States, especially in California.  Local officials are cracking down on the maternity hotels, which offer the promise of U.S. citizenship to newborn babies.

In the Los Angeles suburb of Monterey Park, an unlicensed maternity clinic was forced to close recently.  The large home in a residential neighborhood had diapers, clothing and baby supplies sitting in the driveway.  The house was one of many in California that advertises online for pregnant women in Asia who want their children born in the United States.  Under the U.S. Constitution, that makes the child a U.S. citizen.

It is called birth tourism, and while it is not the intent of the law, it's not illegal, says immigration policy expert Karthick Ramakrishnan of the University of California, Riverside.

“The U.S. could pass a law saying that they will not admit someone in the country if their intent is to have a child in the United States.  Right now, there is no law that explicitly says that," said Ramakrishnan.

Local officials say these maternity hotels are unlicensed and illegal in residential neighborhoods.  Women from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea pay from $10,000 to more than $20,000 for their maternity stay.  Local authorities in Chino Hills, near Los Angeles, have been cracking down on one alleged maternity hotel in a hillside neighborhood.

Attorney Rosanna Mitchell heads a group of residents who complained to city officials.  

“They saw a lot of luxury cars coming in and out of here.  They also saw seven to eight pregnant women walking down this driveway," said Mitchell.

Local officials say the 17-room home housed up to 30 women, with inadequate sanitation or safety facilities.

Many California cities are ethnically diverse, with many immigrants from Asia and other parts of the world, and Chinese-American Lou Alfonso says the controversy in his city is causing racial divisions.

“Because there are honest and peace-loving residents of the American Chinese community in Chino Hills who are very much against these maternity hotels, and because of the emotion, there's a tendency to generalize," said Alfonso.

Wai-Min Liu of the Chinese American Association of Chino Hills wants the unlicensed clinics closed.

“We feel very bad about this kind of operation, and we sure hope the government does something about it," said Liu.

It is unclear how many maternity hotels are operating around the United States, but local activists count more than a dozen near Chino Hills alone, and others are thought to operate in different sections of Los Angeles.  Some here hope that Congress will clarify the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which grants U.S. citizenship to all born in the country, to prevent the birth tourism that local officials say is spreading.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
March 29, 2013 1:24 AM
I wonder who operate these kind of maternity hotels for foreign nationals.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More