California busts Chinese 'maternity tourism' racket

March 04, 2015 11:00
Police officers raided several places in California this week amid a probe into 'birth tourism' centers catering to the Chinese. File photo: AFP

US authorities raided about 20 locations in California early Tuesday as part of an investigation targeting "birth tourism" racket involving Chinese women, Los Angeles Times reported.

Search warrants were served at the homes of people federal authorities suspect of running schemes that help pregnant Chinese women to travel to the US on fraudulent visas to give birth, the report said.

Giving birth in the US is a tactic aimed at ensuring American citizenship for the children. 

Many agencies openly advertise services called "maternity hotels" or "birthing centers", offering assistance in getting their newborns a US passport and extolling the benefits that come with American citizenship, the report noted.

Those behind the operations targeted in Tuesday’s raids are suspected of engaging in visa fraud and conspiracy by helping women falsify records for their visa screening and coaching them to falsely claim that they are traveling to the US as tourists.

No arrests were expected Tuesday, but investigators would be seizing possible evidence and interviewing the mothers for potential criminal charges against scheme operators, the paper said.

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