In an effort to give their offspring US citizenship, and perhaps someday themselves, many foreigners are flocking to “maternity hotels” in Los Angeles.
The foreigners are mainly from Asian countries, and pay up to $20,000 to give birth at the hotels. They come to America on tourists visas, give birth, and leave with babies that have citizenship in the US.
Those who do so are not denied entry by US Customs and Border Patrol officers.
This method of birth gives Chinese women a way to avoid the penalties imposed by China’s “one-child” policy. Also, once the children reach 21, they can apply for their parents to become permanent US residents.
These “maternity hotels” have been around for some time, and have stirred up controversy. A few have been shut down for violating zoning regulations. One facility in Chino Hills faces legal action after authorities found out at least 20 were staying in it. The “home” was divided into 17 separate “apartments” which was a violation of zoning laws.
Now, instead of operating as homes, many facilities are opting to operate as a hotel.
USA Baby Care, a maternity hotel, says they offer clients luxury hotel rooms or villas. They also include numerous services to the mother-to-be, like meals, shopping, maid services, free study in the United States, free child care, legal immigration advice, admission into US public schools and all citizenship documentation for the child.
While this process raises questions, it is not illegal. Authorities can’t prevent maternity hotels and have no control over the “birth tourism” industry.
Authorities are working with Zoning and Health Department officials to make sure the facilities are operating in accordance with state and city laws.
Residents have complained about the hotels, particularly in Rowland Heights and Hacienda Heights. A Republican assemblyman from Chino Hills, Curt Hagman, said he is looking into seeing if state government can address the issue.