Alleged Chinese ‘maternity tourism’ operations raided in California
By VICTORIA KIM AND FRANK SHYONG
Federal agents raided about 20 locations in three Southern California counties early Tuesday as part of an investigation targeting “birth tourism” schemes in which pregnant Chinese women travel to the United States on fraudulent visas so that their children will be born U.S. citizens.
Search warrants were served at the homes of people federal authorities suspect of running the operations as well as at apartment complexes in Irvine, Rancho Cucamonga, Rowland Heights and Walnut where pregnant women were allegedly being housed.
According to affidavits unsealed Tuesday, operators charged expectant Chinese mothers tens of thousands of dollars for services that guided the women through obtaining tourist visas, coached them on successfully making their way into the country and housed them for months as they awaited giving birth.
The raids represent a rare federal crackdown against a widespread practice of foreign nationals giving birth in the U.S.
Many agencies openly advertise services called “maternity hotels” or “birthing centers,” offering assistance in getting their newborns a U.S. passport and extolling the benefits that come with American citizenship, including public education and immigration benefits for parents. Taiwanese, Korean and Turkish mothers are also known to engage in birth tourism, which isn’t necessarily illegal.
Those behind the operations targeted in Tuesday’s raids, however, are suspected of engaging in visa fraud and conspiracy by helping women falsify records for their visa screening and coaching them to falsely claim that they are traveling to the U.S. as tourists, according to affidavits filed in support of the search warrants.
No arrests were expected Tuesday, but authorities said Homeland Security and Internal Revenue Service investigators would be seizing possible evidence and interviewing the mothers for potential criminal charges against scheme operators. …
In a few weeks, Wu said, she will have a daughter. With American citizenship, her daughter will have “very big, very happy” future, she said. …
… One affidavit quoted a law review article estimating that about 40,000 of 300,000 children born to foreign citizens in the U.S. each year were the product of birth tourism.
… In the Irvine case, an undercover agent posed as an expectant mother and contacted a representative of “You Win USA.” The agency helped her come up with a bogus Chinese employer, a false proof of income and a fake college diploma to bolster the appearance that she was likely to return to China after a brief visit, according to the affidavit. …
Agents also wrote that the scheme defrauded hospitals at which the women gave birth. Even though the mothers paid birth tourism operators between $15,000 and $50,000 for the service, they paid local hospitals nothing or a reduced sum for uninsured, low-income patients, according to the affidavit.
More than 400 women associated with the Irvine location have given birth at one Orange County hospital since 2013, agents wrote in the affidavit. One of the women paid $4,080 out of $28,845 in hospital bills when her bank account showed charges at Wynn Las Vegas and purchases made at Rolex and Louis Vuitton stores, the affidavit said.
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Back in 2011 in VDARE.com, I had one of these Chinese birth tourism ads plugged into Google Translate to obtain its long list of financial advantages accruing from having a baby on American soil.
Of course, that was four years ago …
How can we expect the rising Chinese superpower to respect the United States of America when we’re such patsies? That’s an “immigration security” linkage between immigration policy and foreign policy that ought to be emphasized: us exhibiting simple self-respect would teach potential bad guys that we aren’t pathetic losers ripe for a fall who can be pushed around by the Chinese?