The Advent of “Maternity Tourism”

OFFICIALS CLOSE A CALIFORNIA HOME THAT BIRTHED “AMERICAN CITIZENS” TO ASIAN WOMEN VISITING THE US; AN ISOLATED INSTANCE OR A NEW TREND?

Today’s New York Times features a story about a makeshift maternity home in San Gabriel, CA, twenty miles from Los Angeles. For fees ranging into thousands of dollars, the home offered well-to-do women from China the opportunity to give birth to their children in the United States. By being born here, the children are automatically American citizens under the “birthright citizenship” clause of the 14th amendment. The Times article described other businesses advertising similar services to women in China, Mexico, and Korea.

The birthright citizenship issue, which was the focus of a program mounted by PJP at its 2011 main event, has been at the heart of the debate over illegal immigration, usually from Latin American countries. But this is different, Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, tells the Times. “If anything, it is worse than illegal immigrants having a baby here. Those kids are socialized as Americans. This phenomenon of coming to the U.S. and then leaving with people who have unlimited access to come back is just ridiculous.”

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