Still bedeviling U.S. law enforcement officials is the challenge of what to do to those women who visit the United States long enough to have a baby, thus guaranteeing the newborn’s status as a U.S. citizen. A couple of recent news items that focus on the practice in California and Florida remind us that the problem it entails still lives.
Background: The issue at hand came to be about a decade ago as wealthy Chinese travelers figured out that it was worth the exorbitant fees into the tens of thousands of dollars were worth a two-week-to-a-month leisure that included a visit to a hospital in California in order to deliver a baby, followed by a period of recuperation or recovery for both mother and child, because the child—by virtue of the fact that it was born in the USA—would be a U.S. citizen.
At about the same time, travel planners in China discovered that the process was more convenient if one went to Saipan, where the administrative center for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)—a collection of 15 islands in the sparsely populated southwestern part of the Pacific Ocean—is located.
Because of its status as a U.S. Commonwealth, there are certain legal prerogatives that it has. Among them is waiver of visas it authorizes for more visitors from more than 60 nations, including China.
Also, it is less in inconvenient and a shorter flight (about 4 hours and about 1,890 miles from Shanghai) to Saipan than it is to San Francisco, which is more than 6,000 miles from Shanghai.
NBC News followed a DHS crew as it went into The Carlyle, a luxury property in Irvine, Calif., that has apartment units for the mothers-to-be, who reportedly have paid more than $40,000 n order to have their baby born in the U.S. Apparently, those with enough wealth prefer to have their child in a mainland U.S. city because they are more prestigious places.
On the other side of the USA, Homeland Security agents went after women for the same purpose, as NBC filmed some Russian women displaying their new U.S. cities while at Miami Beach.
In both California and Florida, the DHS is not after the mothers for any criminal activity; they are after the individuals who run the rings that solicit mothers-to-be for Birth Tourism packages. The mothers can get into trouble, however if—when applying for a visa to travel to the U.S., they lie about their reason for visiting the USA.