10,000 Pregnant Women from China Timed Births in US

The number of pregnant women from China who managed to give birth in the US approached 10,000 in 2012, according to the Communist Party organ Beijing Youth Daily.

Helping these women achieve their objective of ensuring US citizenship for their offspring are 154 homes in the LA area that cater to such women. They are located mostly in Arcadia, Monterey Park and Rowland Heights, cities that house hundreds of markets, restaurants, shops and businesses catering the Chinese-speakers.

Guangdong Province account for the largest number of such “baby tourists”, or about 15%.

The tourist mothers invest heavily for the sake of giving their offspring a chance to be an Americans — as well as providing the family a surefire way to secure green cards. An example cited in the Youth Daily article is a woman named Posha who spent $49,000 for airfare, medical and hospital costs and rent for one of the “nursing homes” operated for women like her.

“I am buying a future for my baby,” she said.

She would like the child to have both a US citizenship and a Chinese citizenship, but neither nation recognizes dual citizenships.

When Posha arrived at Los Angeles International Airport in July the US customs officer discovered that she was pregnant. In response to his request for the purpose of her visit, she replied that she was “traveling.” She was granted a six-month tourist visa.

She entered a Roland Heights “nursing home” that is essentially an illegal hotel that helps pregnant Chinese women give birth in the US. After learning that Los Angeles real estate is cheaper than back home in Shenzhen, she is seriously considering moving to Los Angeles.

As popular as the US is as a destination for China’s baby tourists like Posha, it’s a distant second to Hong Kong in the number of births by such women. In 2010 an estimated 45% of the 88,000 births in Hong Kong were by women from mainland China. One reason is that it’s much cheaper and easier to cross over into Hong Kong than to obtain a visa and fly to the US.

The furor over mainland Chinese women crowding out local women in maternity wards prompted the Special Administrative Region (SAR) to crack down on Chinese baby tourism. But it has enjoyed little success in discouraging mainland women determined to secure the many benefits of Hong Kong residency rights, including access to one of the world’s best educational systems and unparalleled maternity care. In 2012 an estimated 40,000 mainland women managed to give birth in Hong Kong, about four times as many as in the US.