California: Chinese National Pleads Guilty to Running Anchor Baby Agency

File picture of a woman pushing a child in a stroller, adorned with colours of the US national flag, along a street in Shanghai (AFP Photo/Johannes EISELE)
AFP Photo/Johannes EISELE

A Chinese national pleaded guilty in federal court this week to charges that she operated a “birth tourism” agency for more than two years in Orange County, California.

Dongyuan Li, a 41-year-old Chinese national, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit immigration fraud and one count of visa fraud after running the You Win USA birth tourism agency between 2013 and 2015.

Federal prosecutors said Li, who set up shop in Irvine, California and China, brought pregnant Chinese women to the U.S. for anywhere from $40,000 to $80,000 to deliver their children in order to secure them birthright American citizenship. These “anchor babies” effectively anchor their foreign national parents in the country and eventually, their parents can obtain green cards through the process known as “chain migration.”

In her plea agreement, Li admitted she helped secure American citizenship for more than 500 U.S.-born children of Chinese nationals, earning $3 million in the process. Li charged customers tens of thousands of dollars, then placed them in various apartments in Orange County where they would live until they gave birth on U.S. soil.

Li admitted Chinese customers were often coached by You Win USA to make false statements to the federal government in order to earn temporary visas to travel to the country. Li said customers were told to claim they were only planning to stay in the U.S. for two weeks, when in actuality, they were staying for at least three months to deliver their children.

Customs, the plea agreement states, booked their flights from China to Hawaii, then Hawaii to Los Angeles, California because they believed U.S. Customs would be less strict in the island state. Additionally, customers were coached by You Win USA on how to conceal their pregnancies to federal agents.

Li is the first among 19 individuals to plead guilty in the case. As part of her plea agreement, Li is set to forfeit more than $850,000, her Murrieta, California, home worth more than $500,000, and a number of Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Her sentencing is set for December 16 as she faces up to 15 years in federal prison.

The other 18 individuals charged in the birth tourism crackdown are pending trials or are on the run as fugitives.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder

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