US crackdown on Chinese `maternity tourism` in LA

US investigators launched dawn raids Tuesday on two dozen Los Angeles locations suspected of offering "maternity tourism" for mostly Chinese mothers wanting to give birth in the United States.

Reuters| Last Updated: Mar 04, 2015, 05:18 AM IST

California: US investigators launched dawn raids Tuesday on two dozen Los Angeles locations suspected of offering "maternity tourism" for mostly Chinese mothers wanting to give birth in the United States.

The raids targeted apartment complexes in the Irvine, Rowland Heights and Walnut districts outside LA where the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency says foreign clients are housed.

"Such businesses provide travel and lodging services to pregnant foreign nationals interested in coming to the United States to give birth so their offspring will be American citizens," ICE agent Virginia Kice said.

She said the raids aimed to gather "further evidence related to a variety of possible criminal violations, including visa and tax fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy."

According to the agency, the maternity tourism businesses cater mostly to Chinese women who pay from $15,000-$50,000 for the services, which can include getting Social Security numbers and US passports for their offspring.