How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

San Gabriel 'maternity tourism' operation reignites birthright citizenship debate

Photo by Qi Wei Fong/Flickr (Creative Commons)


A week after Arizona legislators voted down several immigration bills, two of them intended to force an end to automatic U.S. citizenship for children born in this country, the debate over birthright citizenship has a new epicenter. This time, it's the San Gabriel Valley.

The Pasadena Star-News reported this week that San Gabriel city officials shut down a townhouse illegally converted into a makeshift maternity ward, where investigators found several women who were Chinese nationals and their newborns. A code enforcement officer was quoted as saying that it "played a role in the maternity tourism trade which caters to wealthy Taiwanese, Chinese and Koreans."

As the news has spread, California politicians have used the incident to get back into the birthright citizenship debate. In comments posted on news sites, members of the public have also sounded off on the topic, which has been in and out of the headlines for months after federal and state legislators announced plans to introduce anti-birthright citizenship bills earlier this year.

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