Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

San Gabriel shuts down makeshift maternity ward catering to 'birthing tourism'

House in San Gabriel used as an illegal birthing center. From the outside, they were typical Southern Californian townhouses with bright white walls and Spanish tile roofs.

But inside, a new kind of international business thrived -– maternity wards for wealthy expectant mothers from across the Pacific.

For a fee, Chinese women received room and board and a chance to deliver their babies in the United States and become mothers to instant U.S. citizens.

Southern California has become a hub for this growing phenomenon, known as birthing tourism.

One such business was busted earlier this month when code enforcement officials from the city of San Gabriel responded to a complaint about noise and an unusual number of pregnant women in a quiet Palm Avenue neighborhood.

When officials went to the location, they found about 10 mothers and seven newborns living in three townhouses that had been illegally converted into maternity wards.

"The people were sitting and eating at a table, all the babies were in bassinets with a nurse attending to them," said Jennifer Davis, community development director for the city of San Gabriel.

Officials shut down the operation March 8 and fined the manager of the property, Dwight Chang, $800. Chang, of Arcadia, was cited for illegal construction and ordered to acquire permits and return the premises to their original condition.

"They had moved walls around without proper permits; they did interior work that can sometimes create unsafe environments afterward," Davis said. "And it's a business in a residential neighborhood. They are not permitted to operate there."

The Chinese mothers have since left the U.S. or moved into hotels, officials said.


Heavy rain, high winds, cold air to hit Southern California

L.A. man convicted of selling homemade medicines for bird flu, TB

Chris Brown apologizes over rampage at "Good Morning America" studio

-- Ching-Ching Ni in San Gabriel

Photo: A house in San Gabriel that authorities say was used as an illegal birthing center. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (69)

See why that 14th Amendment needs to be taken a look at. And these women are in the country legally.

You're kidding... Wealthy Asian mothers doing this?

Kick these scumbags out!!!!

this is why we need to get rid of the anchor baby nonsense.

wow, not a single comment? If this had been about Latina women, everyone would have been so quick to judge. I hope that people learned to stop putting the blame on the Latin community for all of our nation's immigration problems and start to realize that OTHER ethnicites are involved as well. Wow, what a way to digrace human life. I happen to live in the San Gabrial Valley, and I see Asian families using EBT cards and WIC voucher to pay for groceries just like many low income familes just 5 miles south in East Los Angeles do.

I think it's important for the LA Times to reiterate its stance that the practice of illegal aliens sneaking into the United States to "lock" their babies into US citizenship is just a pernicious right-wing myth.

Seriously, please explain it to us again.

Oh, but they just want to come here for a better life.

Wake up. This country has been overrun by citizens of every other country in the world, who ignore, circumvent and, break our laws at every opportunity.

I don't accept the description of the meek immigrant seeking a better life. I see people who have an agenda and are willing to use this country as a pawn and a means to their own ends.

The time has long since past that we need immigrants to grow our economy, they're now a DRAIN on the Americans who've given up their jobs to persons who undercut even the meanest of wages, not to mention, BUSINESSES that cater to their needs, no longer HIRE AMERICANS if they cannot SPEAK THE LANGUAGE of the THE IMMIGRANT.

America needs to get back to basics on this, we're out of control here. This article just makes me sick.

These births of pseudo citizen children go on all around us everyday. The only thing different about this case is that the births usually occur in public hospitals. These children under current law will be entitled to all of the benefits of U.S. citizens. Kind of makes you want to forget about extending that state's "temporary" taxes and might even make you take pause at tax time next month.

But we don't have an immigration problem. That's just conservative progaganda. There is more than enough money to support everyone who chooses to come to America. Once the rest of us decide to stop being selfish we can stop paying our mortgages and other bills and give all of our money to the government so they can give it to people who are more deserving than we, the people, who EARNED the money.

we need to end the baby anchor laws !!

Why are the officials picking on the Asian community? It seems to me that the pickings are much more ripe in going after the illegal alien Hispanic population instead. Asian discrimination anyone?

I was shocked to hear of this practice about three years ago from a woman I met who lived in Koreatown in LA. She said that South Korean couples expecting a baby time an extended visit to the LA area for the purpose of having the baby born in the U.S. It was explained to me that it is so the child will have instant U.S. citizenship, thereby later making it easy for the kid to come back to the U.S. when older, school here and bring his or her parents and other family to the U.S. This is not just going on in the Chinese community. This is much more widespread.

Yet more evidence for a court test of congress' intent behind the 14th amendment, and if that fails, an repeal to eliminate birthright citizenship.

Punishment for breeding "U.S babies" = $800.00 fine!

That is less than twice the amount for running a red light with a traffic camera monitoring the intersection.

"Officials shut down the operation March 8 and fined the manager of the property, Dwight Chang, $800"

Sad that our laws are laughable and the state wants to tax us more $ to continue doing everything backwards and then scratch their bald heads wondering why the accounting isn't adding up properly.

So you run a red light you pay $400.00 you run an illegal baby mill that creates U.S citizens out of Chinese babies you will be fined $800. 00, that's less than a Louis Vuitton bag sell for on Rodeo Drive, now that makes sense doesn't it!

Goodbye America. You had a good run.

The government insists that Mexican women never do this. But these women came all the way from China. Why wouldn't a woman jump in over the Arizona border from Mexico and have an anchor baby? We need to change this stupid, stupid law. No other country does this. It's national suicide.

Is anyone going to be looking into how many U.S citizens were created and what will the country do about the new Chinese/ U.S CITIZENSHIPS that were born under illegal conditions?

This is ridiculous, but who can fault this San Gabriel facility for exploiting an even more ridiculous US law which allows such citizenship schemes based on location of birthing.

Fined $800? Where is the consequence here, exactly?

This is as dumb as fining the Wisconsin "runaway baby" legislators $100 a day for not coming to work and doing their job. At the salaries they make...who is going to care about $100/day?

Did anyone bother to call ICE?

Those are the real anchor babies!

Medical Tourism in Reverse. If enough "wealthy Foreign Mothers-to-be" used legitimate US Medical Facilities, maybe "ObamaCare" will work. Then again it might just only "balance" the Money lost due to Hospital Care for Undocumented Mothers-to-be. America-What a Country!

I cant wait to see what all the so-called "Americans" are gonna say about this article, when they post all their hateful comments about "anchor babies"

A cross-check of birth certificates with tourism visas would demonstrate how many people from foreign countries are taking advantage of the U.S. citizenship rules without bothering to apply for citizenship themselves.

Anecdotes from people who work in quarantine at the airport suggests that many, many women are flying into this country 8 months into their pregnancy in order to give birth on U.S. soil.

Another way to quantify this phenomenon would be to inquire at the State Department how many infant passports they are issuing to little citizens every year without their parents having U.S. passports issued to them as well.

That's odd, everyone on here keeps telling me the Asians come here legally and it's only the Mexicans who have "anchor babies".

1 2 3 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: