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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs