Wealthy Chinese ‘birth tourists’ on visas spend freely in Southern California
Thousands of wealthy foreign women, mostly Chinese, come to America each year for the express purpose of having babies on U.S. soil. The women arrive on tourist visas and typically go home with the baby after several months.
But before the women leave with what critics have called “anchor babies,” they typically spend thousands of dollars in private hospitals, high-end shopping malls and luxury apartment complexes. That has made this practice, known as maternity or birth tourism, a lucrative business in certain areas of the U.S., including this one southeast of Los Angeles.
On a recent Sunday at the upscale South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Mandarin speakers, many of them visibly pregnant, far outnumbered other shoppers at Chanel, Christian Dior, Giorgio Armani and other designer stores. Two women with protruding bellies emerged from Fendi speaking Mandarin, one of them pushing a new-looking stroller overflowing with bags. Down one mall corridor, seven women who appeared pregnant chatted in Mandarin on a bench, shopping bags at their feet.
“They see something they like, they buy it,” said Joanne Lee, one of three Mandarin-speaking salespeople out of six at a Coach shop. “They buy multiple pieces.”
The rise of Chinese birth tourism reflects the new wealth in China, and uncertainty among some of its citizens regarding the country’s long-term economic future. A child born in the U.S. automatically becomes an American citizen, and under federal law, when the child turns 21, he or she can sponsor foreign family members for a green card, and eventually citizenship.
The Center for Immigration Studies, which supports a crackdown on the practice and favors more immigration restrictions overall, estimates that 40,000 women visit the U.S. annually on birth tourism, most from China.Read the rest of the story HERE.
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