An alleged “maternity hotel” in Chino Hills, Calif. is housing a “maternity tourism” business accommodating women who travel from Asia to give birth to babies with U.S. citizenship. And members of the upscale suburb are outraged.
The house in question is in San Bernardino County, about 25 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. A web site that city officials believe is tied to the “hotel” says it charges more than $10,000 for its services, the Associated Press reports.
In response to community backlash and protest, Chino Hills officials told residents at a city council meeting Tuesday that they filed a public nuisance lawsuit against the hotel operators.
Following news of the Chino Hills controversy, LA County has received multiple complaints about alleged maternity hotels, including 12 in Rowland Heights and eight in Hacienda Heights, the Los Angeles Times reports. Supervisor Don Knabe said that he is now concerned for the expectant mothers’ safety.
Chino Hills residents are upset about the alleged businesses and started a group called Not in Chino Hills, which has posted the addresses of about a dozen other alleged material hotels in the San Gabriel Valley. The web site also links to a site, Asiam Child, which assists families wishing to have their child born in the U.S.
Some people have become concerned with the group’s invasive tactics, including asking stay-at-home mothers to sign up for shifts to locate and follow mini vans that are allegedly part of the maternity hotel, according to the Inland Empire Daily Bulletin.
Rossana Mitchell, who is a spokesperson for the group and is running for a City Council seat, passed out a flier with the image of the van and its license plate and urged residents to start a letter-writing campaign to news outlets, council members and even to President Barack Obama, the Bulletin reports.
The group also organized a protest of some 70 people, who held signs reading “No Birth Tourism” and “No More Anchor Babies,” the San Bernardino Sun reports.
"It becomes personal, absolutely. They're taking advantage of this country and we want it to stop," Chino Hills resident Edward Velazquez said to ABC.