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Tourists coming to America just to have anchor babies

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 30th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Complaints over the development of a new industry in Los Angeles have skyrocketed as citizens become aware of "birth tourism." Promoted mainly in Asia, women travel to the United States and reside in residential communities long enough to give birth.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Birth tourism is intended to take advantage of the 14th Amendment, which codifies that any person born in the United States becomes an automatic citizen. Women who want their children to enjoy the perks of U.S. citizenship are traveling to the country specifically to have their babies here.

The hotels are marketed to women overseas, particularly in Asia, with sales pitches focusing on the benefits of American citizenship, including generous social welfare programs and free education. Women are also advised how to evade authorities and avoid suspicion when they travel. Immigration officials are free to bar entry into the country if they do not believe the stated motive for travel.

The practice of birth tourism is spiking in Los Angeles with 60 "maternity hotels" being reported in the past month alone. Typically, these hotels are just houses nestled in residential neighborhoods. The practice isn't illegal either, leaving L.A. County officials to use zoning codes and other complaints to try and shut down the operations.

However, getting past the door to inspect the facilities is a problem. Inspectors are often forced to stand at locked doors, refused entry by the occupants who simple act like they're not home, although they clearly are. Inspectors cannot enter the houses without permission.

At other homes, the occupants insist they do not speak English, which creates a language barrier than makes it difficult for inspectors to do their work.

So far, the county has only been able to shut down just three of the operations.

For now, city officials are sending Cantonese and Mandarin speaking translators to help and they're going after owners with tax code violations. Unless a law is passed to close the loophole, this will be the best they can do.

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