Operation helped thousands of Chinese women give birth in U.S. to secure citizenship
Federal prosecutors announced an indictment Thursday against 19 people accused of running “birth tourism” operations in Southern California that helped thousands of pregnant Chinese women visit the U.S. just in time to give birth — thus securing American citizenship for their children.
The Justice Department said it’s the first time the government has brought charges against such a business.
Women were charged up to $100,000, were arranged visitor visas, then kept in apartments here in order to give birth. Under U.S. birthright policy almost anyone born on American soil — no matter if it’s to an illegal immigrant, a legal visitor or a citizen — is automatically an American citizen.
The scam operators advertised their businesses in China, saying the U.S. had better air, better jobs, better schools and “the most attractive nationality,” prosecutors said.
Chinese government officials were among the clients, prosecutors said.
Some of the Chinese scammers even skipped out on their medical bills, according to the indictments unsealed Thursday.