In California, ‘Birth Tourism’ Appears to Grow

Richard Chang, The Sacramento Bee, September 24, 2012

Born in New York, Jennifer Shih, a UC Davis senior, attended high schools in Idaho and Utah before graduating from her alma mater in California.

But even she will tell you she is anything but an all-American girl.

Shih was reared in her parents’ home country, Taiwan, and returned to the United States at age 15, when it was time to claim her birthright as a U.S. citizen for a public education.

“I’m Taiwanese more than American,” Shih, who is 23 and double-majoring in communication and psychology, said on a recent weekday afternoon in Davis.

Shih personifies an immigration trend that can be seen as the mirror opposite of those teens and young adults who came to this country illegally as children and are now trying to secure legal residency.

Eight months pregnant, Shih’s mother legally entered the United States on a tourist visa in 1989. Two months after giving birth at a Manhattan hospital, she returned to Taiwan with her U.S. passport-bearing daughter in tow.

The family acknowledges it planned the birth so that Shih could become a U.S. citizen and eventually go to school here.

“The educational system in the U.S. is better and more open,” said Shih’s father, Simon, 55.

Critics call it “birth tourism” and the practice is solidly entrenched in the Los Angeles area, though so-called maternity homes catering to expectant mothers from East Asia are also advertised in the San Francisco Bay Area.

No one knows how many “birth tourists” visit this country each year.

In 2010, the mothers of 7,719 children born in the United States reported that they lived overseas, according to the National Center for Health Statistics—a figure up nearly 55 percent since 2000.

Critics say the data vastly understate the number, because they use information self-reported by parents during their hospital stays.


Pregnant women are driven to make the long and risky trip because of educational and job opportunities in the United States, Chang said. Some hope their children can help them emigrate later; once the children turn 21, they can petition the government to grant legal residency for their parents.

The trend is on the rise, Chang said, adding that there are more than 40 maternity operations that host 1,000 women in the Los Angeles area alone.

With names such as Star Baby Care and Little Sunshine, the homes are scattered across the suburban cities of Monterey Park and Temple City. Most operate in the shadows, advertising in Chinese newspapers and on the Internet. A quick online search of “giving birth in America” in Chinese yields numerous businesses, including Chang’s.

For $3,000 to $6,000 a month, the maternity homes provide three meals a day, transportation and child care, according to Chang. They even make arrangements with Chinese doctors in the United States who charge $7,000 for a birth.

“Expect to spend $15,000 if you want an American-born baby,” Chang said.


Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C., group that supports tighter immigration controls, is among those who argue for restrictions to help guard against the practice.

“What we’re doing is conferring citizenship on people who don’t have a connection to this country,” he said.

Krikorian and others argue that the United States’ conferment of citizenship at birth, adopted through the 14th Amendment in 1868, was established to ensure that newly emancipated slaves would be citizens.

“The idea that visitors from abroad who intentionally come to give birth to U.S. citizens would have been considered absurd by the framers of the amendment,” Krikorian said.


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  • I agree that this is one of the unintended benefits of birthright citizenship that writers of the fourteenth amendment did not plan for. The US is not the only country East Asians have gone to have their babies born. Hong Kong is another destination because a Hong Kong passport makes it easier for the bearer to enter the UK, the US and the rest of Europe. It is time that we put a stop to birthright citizenship. In order for a child to claim citizenship, both parents must be either be Legal Permanent Residents with a Green Card or US citizens.

    • The__Bobster

      The writers of the 14th Amendment never thought a rogue SCOTUS could ever misinterpret it in such a way as to create anchor babies.

    • AmericanTaxPayerNoMore


      When you write “The US is not the only country”, you write in circles.  I write in circles so I can spot it a mile away.  Look, the destination is the same and as you wrote, that destination is White.

      • crystal evans

        Thank you for your observations. 

  • Oh it gets better, or worse depending on your point of view.  Check out this article from the L.A. Times in which the wife of Mexican Drug Lord “El Chapo” Guzman travels from Mexico to give birth to “American” twins in a L.A. County hospital.  Of course she is an “American” citizen just claiming her birthright.  It is so sickening I just laugh and pray for the inevitable collapse.  How ANY liberal can defend this psychotic and deliberately malicious practice of birth right citizenship is beyond me.

  • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

    In an April 8, 2010 blog post as, Steve Sailer provided a translation of an ad running in China promoting birth tourism package deals.  Quoting Sailer:

    From on why pregnant Chinese women should pay the firm $9,000 to $14,000 to have their baby on American soil.

    The benefits of US citizenship

    1. If your child is born in America, he will immediately have US nationality and will enjoy the rights of a citizen. When the child is 21, the parents can apply to be sponsored as family members, will have a permanent green card, will not have to wait their turn for the quota, and it will provide the basis for future immigration

    2. In terms of the environment and education, the US is the most advanced state in the world, and your child will be able to attend US public schools from primary school to senior high school without any tuition fees at all.

    3. Your child will pay only 10% of the tuition fees paid by foreign students in state unversities and research institutes, and it will be easy for him to enrol in famous universities.

    4. Your American child will be able to apply for scholarship funds that only US citizens can enjoy and for student loans at a low interest rate of 1%.

    5. Your child will be able to live and work in high-income America unconditionally (the average wage in the US is US$37,363 a year), and will be given preferential treatment in assuming significant leadership positions in the US government, public institutions and large businesses.

    6. Your child will enjoy the right to enter more than 180 countries of the globe without obtaining visas, and and the convenience of crossing borders on the most preferential terms.

    7. Your child will have a US Social Security card and will enjoy access to all American social welfare measures and medical facilities.

    8. If the location your child resides in in the future is disrupted by war, US citizenship and nationality will allow him to benefit from protection and evacuation by the US government.

    * * *

    •  postt on sacramento bee please

      • E_Pluribus_Pluribus


    • China?  Wanting to do birth tourism here because America is so much better?
      Somebody page Thomas Friedman.

      • Anthony

        This reminds me of “The World Is Flat”!

  • Defiant White

    I see California as the Tennessee of our next civil war.  Huge armies rampaging across the countryside  as Californians scurry for cover.  Various militias battling over politics, food, water, money and drugs.  Armies invading from all sides and the retreating leaving behind a wasteland. 

    Great place to be from.

    • crystal evans

      People have been leaving California in droves. We left in 1990 and have never regretted it. Atlanta is the new LA, where a lower cost of living and job growth has attracted many from California and other states. BTW, Georgia seems to have better controls over illegals than California does. They do not get instate tuition or financial aid and they cannot attend the 5 most prestigious universities in the state.

  • RegisterToPost

    Why bother flying to California?

    Guam is closer and cheaper.

    • crystal evans

      I guess Guam is not much of a tourist destination for the Chinese as it is for the Japanese. They could also go to Hawaii. 

  • And to think that so many here on AmRen have the gall to advocate  “alliances” and/or “mixing” with these post-1965 East Asians who don’t belong in White countries in the first place.

    I mean, how many more proofs do you need to see that most of them are only here for what they can get out of Whites before anything else ?

    From industrial espionage, school cheating, tax evasion, illegal immigration, prostitution, illegal gambling, black market, financial fraud, counterfeit clothings, and on and on, their corrupt mentality knows no boundaries.

    Sorry, but we have enough problems with blacks, browns and our own bad apples to add these two faces into the mix:

    Asian organized crime (FBI):

    Elite Asian students cheat like mad on US college applications:

    San Francisco Chinatown restaurants likened to sweatshops for employees:

    Chinese brothel right in a low crime San Francisco residential neighborhood (Sunset):

  • AmericanTaxPayerNoMore

    Ah yes, the ever so “innocent asians”….  And the chinese doctors…

    And, may I remind those who love to tell us how so very “intelligent” those people are; they’re coming HERE for their education.  And “HERE” is that place where you find knowledge brought to you by White Men.

  • AmericanTaxPayerNoMore

    No Sir, not extreme, not extreme at all.  What it is is common sense.

    My thing is, if you are to be one for things like Law and Order and Ethics and Morals, you simply cannot allow illegality to stand.  It must be reconciled and so, like you said, the wrongs must be put right.

  • AmericanTaxPayerNoMore

    Because the The West is still The Best.

    Seriously, it’s about the Minority Privilege and in this case, Asian Privilege and guess who’s paying for it?  YOU ARE!

  • AmericanTaxPayerNoMore

    More than that.  You should have a Blood Line here, not just one parent.  Unless of course, that other parent is a Republican (Founding Father Style) thinking and believing type European.  Your Founding Fathers’ didn’t want just anyone here.

  • Diamond_Lil

    RIP California

    • newscomments70

      Unless real Americans revolt. Don’t rule that out. It has happened in the past and it will happen again. A society can not function on drug wars, welfare, and child rape. Eventually something will explode. Pastor Manning, a black evangelist from Harlem describes a white revolt quite eloquently. Look him up on youtube. His tirade is quite inspirational, even though it is from an unexpected source.

  • crystal evans

    As far as the Chinese are concerned, life is cheap. They do not have the same regard for human life as those in the west do. Chinese parents will look for any advantage that their kid can get over another kid.

  • mobilebay

    For years I’ve thought that birthright citizenship was one of the biggest magnets, along with jobs, that lure foreigners to this country. If both were stopped, as they should be, we’d see a drastic drop of people sneaking over the border or coming through the back door as these people do.

  • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

    “It should also be noted that when Chinese people plan ahead they do in the idea of future generations which can be twice or more removed from themselves.”

    In marvelous article on Canadian multi-culturalism, “Multicultural Madness,” Ricardo Duchesne, Professor of Sociology at the University of New Brunswick, introduces us to the memorable character, Henry Yu, Chinese ethnic triumphalist extraordinaire:

    “The savviest user of the media in the advancement of Asian interests against Canada’s British heritage is Henry Yu. A history professor at the University of British Columbia, Yu accuses Canada of being ‘systematically racist’ and in need of reparations through massive immigration from the non-Western world. He is the recent recipient of two huge grants, a $1.17 million project entitled ‘Chinese Canadian Stories: Uncommon Histories from a Common Past,’ which will seek a major ‘reinterpretation of Canadian history through the lens of Chinese Canadians,’ as well as $950,000 from the Federal government to document the ‘ignored histories’ of one of the ‘founding peoples’ of Canada. 

    “In an Op Ed piece in The Vancouver Sun (February 2, 2010), ‘Vancouver’s Own Not-So Quiet Revolution’, Yu claimed that the English language ‘stunts diversity’. Calling it a ‘colonial’ language, he demanded that Asian languages, long ‘silenced’ by ‘white supremacists’, be given the same official status. He even equated the presence of a high number of whites in leadership positions with ‘the legacy of a long history of apartheid and white supremacy’. Elsewhere he added that the old bilingual Canada ‘no longer makes sense’. Canada has ceased to be a Western-Atlantic nation. Between 2001 and 2006, the top four places of births for immigrants were in Asia; the five largest Canadian cities are heavily populated by Chinese ‘migrants’. ‘In Vancouver, Canada’s third largest city, the visible minority is white.’ This ‘new Pacific Canada’, he observed, marks a return to a Canada originally Pacific. The ‘dominance of white supremacy in immigration policy’ between the 1920s and 1960s disrupted this founding Pacific orientation.”


    Multicultural MadnessRicardo DuchesneSALISBURY REVIEWFall, 2012(British Quarterly Review of Conservative Thought)

  • That obscene “right” should be revoked immediately.

  • The__Bobster

    Troll alert!

  • AmericanTaxPayerNoMore

    Hahahahahahaha!!!  Good one….

    White People have never stolen anything in their lives but you people sure have and still do.  I can’t turn around without hearing about an asian who was caught stealing.  And cheating, my God the cheating.  Even China has had to shut down schools the cheating is so rampant with you people.