Fox News reports on Tuesday, while much of the nation was preoccupied with the Super Tuesday presidential primaries, federal immigration agents swarmed three dozen sites in Southern California in a crackdown on alleged operators of so-called “birth tourism” businesses.
Such businesses can charge pregnant women from foreign countries as much as $50,000 for services that include lodging, meals and transportation to and from doctor’s office and hospital appointments, the Orange County Register reported.
One such business that has been under scrutiny is the 28-room JR Motel, a former motel in Orange – about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles — that has been used as a lodging home or boarding house for women from China, allegedly in violation of zoning laws, local officials told the paper.
Many of the women arrive pregnant and then leave sometime after giving birth in a local hospital — with their infants becoming instant Americans under what’s called “birthright citizenship,” the automatic citizenship granted to anyone born in the U.S., as prescribed in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
But President Trump and other critics have argued that some people take advantage of the amendment in ways that weren’t intended, so changes may be pursued to tighten the rules.
“We’re looking at that very seriously,” Trump told reporters last August. “Birthright citizenship, where you have a baby on our land — you walk over the border, have a baby, congratulations, the baby’s now a U.S. citizen. We’re looking at it very, very seriously … It’s, frankly, ridiculous.”
Per OCRegister, planning commissioners in Orange voted to revoke the permit of a small motel that operates as a temporary home for pregnant Chinese women.
The two-story 28-room JR Motel – which has no sign and doesn’t apper to take reservations from the general public – has violated numerous building, planning and fire codes, and has been operating more as a lodging home or boarding house in a zone that permits neither, city officials said.
“What is very clear, it’s not a motel,” said Commissioner David Vazquez.
Instead, the JR Motel is believed to be a venue for birth tourism, a controversial but legal practice that has become common in Southern California.