Dozens of Chinese agencies in the Bay Area are advertising online package deals that offer the highly-coveted prize of U.S. citizenship to the children of Chinese and Taiwanese parents. In exchange, parents cough up upwards of $30,000 to give birth in “maternity homes.”
According to a local San Francisco CBS News affiliate, the expectant couples buy a four-month stay in a so-called “maternity house,” which gets them a bedroom in a single family home shared by other pregnant women. The parents are responsible for their own plane tickets, tourist visas, and hospital fees – which could essentially cost an additional $30k — while all meals and transportation to and from their doctors and hospital appointments are included. After the birth, the baby goes home with an American passport, according to CBS local.
“That’s a pretty outrageous fee,” says Bill Hing, an immigration law professor at University of San Francisco. “Those are fees that people pay smugglers along the U.S./Mexico border. I think that those folks are being taken advantage of.”
The maternity homes had initially appeared in Southern California, but were quickly pushed out amid protests.
An increasing number of Chinese have been buying up San Francisco’s real estate market, which has been cited as causing inflation. The buyers tend to hold onto properties for years on end – usually until the child is old enough to enroll in preschool or kindergarten. This in turn causes a decline in inventory and is driving up prices to astronomically high levels.