Local government vows to tighten community administration as outraged US residents are campaigning against the epidemic of “maternity mansions” where a growing number of Chinese pregnant women pay to stay and give birth so as to secure American citizenship for their babies.
Cities like Acadia and Monterey Park in Los Angeles announced that they would tighten their grip on the maternity hotels and would legislate to regulate the responsibilities of house lessor and lessee, the China Press reported.
Local residents complained that their life has been disrupted and their access to community facilities has been curtailed because an increasing number of Chinese pregnant women targeted the US citizenship for their offspring.
Born to be American
In a house atop a hill in a wealthy neighborhood of Chino Hills, California, dozens of Chinese mothers are paying thousands of dollars to stay for the last few months of their pregnancy.
Experts say the practice is widespread and that authorities are nearly powerless to stop it. The 14th Amendment guarantees that any person born in the US is an American citizen and is afforded all the rights granted by the Constitution.
“I do believe they are taking advantage of a loophole that has been found. Because what I understand after doing my research and homework is that it is an epidemic and it's nationwide,' Rossana Mitchell, a Chino Hills resident who is trying to shut down the 'maternity mansion' in her neighborhood, told KABC-TV.
The Chino Hills home is owned by Hai Yong Wu, a Chinese national who operates the website AsiamChild.com.
The website says that for $5,000 to $15,000, Chinese women can stay for the remainder of their pregnancies in the seven-bedroom home and give birth to their child on US soil.
The Chinese-language site also offer tips that suggest women wear black and put a backpack or a bag in front of their bulging stomachs for expectant mothers to hide their pregnancies from US customs officials.
It also lists the benefits of being a US citizen, including the social safety net, free education and a path for citizenship for the parents when the child turns 21.
'They're selling US citizenship. They're putting a price on it and they're bringing people over here specifically for that reason,' Sandy Hayden, another Chino Hills resident, told KABC.