Chinese Birthing Houses In Southern California

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Dozens of people protested Saturday in Chino Hills against a neighborhood home that they claim has been illegally operating as a birthing center where pregnant Chinese women fly in to give birth so their babies will be American citizens.

The Whittier Daily News reported that some 70 people participated in the protest that was organized by Not in Chino Hills, a group that is trying to shut down the center. Demonstrators standing at the intersection of Peyton Avenue and Chino Hills Parkway held up various signs, including one that read "No Birth Tourism."

Southern California has become a hub of so-called birthing tourism. It is not illegal for pregnant women to travel to the U.S. to give birth. Birthing centers advertise in wealthier Chinese cities, where some women can afford the thousands necessary to make the trip to America for a few months.

"Chino Hills is a nice family-oriented town. We don't want a maternal hotel that is a business in a residential area," Rossana Mitchell, an organizer, told the Whittier Daily News.

Last March, code enforcement officials in San Gabriel shut down three identical four-bedroom townhouses functioning as an unlicensed birthing center. Officials told the Times that they had discovered 10 mothers or expectant mothers and seven newborns.

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