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Alleged birth center for Chinese women may close [Google+ hangout]

Times reporter Cindy Chang will join City Editor Shelby Grad at 2:30 p.m. for a Google+ hangout about a Chino Hills residence allegedly housing women from China who want to give birth to U.S.-citizen children.

The home is on the verge of being shut down after complaints about traffic and a sewage spill.

[Update: Video discussion has been moved from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.]

From Chang's Tuesday story:

A website that city officials believe is associated with the business describes a full range of services, from shopping trips for pregnant women to assistance obtaining American passports for newborns.

A 30-day stay at the Chino Hills facility, along with a month of prenatal care, costs $10,500 to $11,500, according to the Chinese-language website, www.asiamchild.com.

Asiam Child is based in Shanghai, with branches in Anhui province and Nanjing, the website says.

The property owner, Hai Yong Wu, did not return a call seeking comment. A man who left the hotel in a black BMW on Monday afternoon would not speak to reporters.

So-called birth tourism appears to be an active but largely under-the-radar industry in Southern California. One local Chinese phone book has five pages of listings for birthing centers, where women from China and Taiwan stay for a month or so before going home with their U.S.-citizen babies. When the children get older, they may return here to study, perhaps paving the way for the rest of the family to immigrate more easily.

In San Gabriel last year, code enforcement officials shut down a facility where about 10 mothers and seven newborns were staying.

Federal immigration officials say there is no law prohibiting pregnant women from entering the U.S. But obtaining a visa through fraud would be a crime, said Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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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.
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