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The state of birth tourism in Southern California

"Birthday, Maternity & Expectations"
Phallnn Ool

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The term anchor babies has gotten a lot of attention in the Presidential race.

In his attempt to clarify his initial “anchor babies” comment, Jeb Bush said that he was talking about “organized efforts” mostly executed by “asian women” who intentionally give birth on U.S. soil to ensure citizenship for their children as a bigger issue than Latinos.

Now, members of the Asian-American community are upset. But the reality is, so-called “maternity houses” do exist in Los Angeles, and in particular, the San Gabriel valley.

At these houses, women are typically cared for prenatally and through their births. Birth certificates are taken care of for them. These kind of stays can cost women tens of thousands of dollars.

So it’s upwardly mobile Chinese making this choice, usually driven by unpredictable socio-political conditions in China. U.S. citizenship is perceived as a way to give their children future choices, if things go very sour in China.

We'll look at Asian maternity tourism in Southern CA, and try to find out how many babies we're talking about.


Alex Garcia, supervising regional planner in the Department of Regional Planning for LA County, and supervisor overseeing the maternity boarding house task force

Steven Castillo, detective in the Arcadia police department

Leslie Berestein-Rojas, KPCC reporter

Karthick Ramakrishnan, Professor and Associate Dean at the School of Public Policy at UC Riverside