ARCADIA (CBSLA.com) — The city of Arcadia is cracking down on so-called “maternity tourism” boarding homes in residential zones.
Two weeks ago, the City Council approved a full-time detective to look into the new birthing home phenomenon, where pregnant women from other countries come to the United States and stay at a temporary location until they give birth—all so their children automatically become citizens.
The practice of foreign tourists having babies in America is not against the law, but Arcadia officials want to regulate the boarding homes.
“There are enough complaints that we believe we should be looking into it,” said Lt. Colleen Flores of the Arcadia Police Department. “There’s gonna be a lot of research first before any action is taken.”
James Tseng, the manager of the Santa Anita Inn, openly admitted he accommodates the “maternity tourists.”
“We have a few, like seven or eight. They’re pregnant, but they don’t give birth here,” he said.
Tseng said he charges the expectant mothers, who are mostly from China, around $1,000 to $1,800 a month.
“They deliver the baby in the hospital nearby. Then after that, they either go home or move somewhere else,” he said.
Arcadia is not the only city experiencing the birthing home problem.
In Chino Hills, a building housed a number of expectant mothers. After neighbors complained, the owner ended the practice last December.
“I do think it’s getting out of hand and it’s getting worse. After this one raised some red flags and other ones starting popping up,” said resident Chereen Fondrick.
Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties are also studying “maternity tourism.”