LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — It’s a growing trend: Asian mothers coming to Los Angeles County to have their babies in so-called “birthing hotels.”
They’re spending up to $20,000 to have their babies in the United States, ensuring that the children are U.S. citizens.
But now, authorities are cracking down on these makeshift maternity hotels.
The recent crop of hotels has been concentrated in the San Gabriel Valley — specifically, Chino Hills and Rowland Heights.
The practice does not violate federal immigration laws, but local governments can crack down on the hotels for zoning or building code violations.
“This is just an absolutely illegal operation, jeopardizing the health of the mother and the baby,” says Don Knabe, L.A. County Supervisor.
According to Knabe, there have been 60 complaints about such facilities in the past month.
Authorities believe someone may be operating an illegal birthing hotel at an apartment complex in Rowland Heights, and neighbors have their suspicions.
The recent surge in complaints may be due to the media coverage about a house in Chino Hills back in November.
That’s when authorities found that the single family home had been divided into 17 bedrooms and 17 bathrooms and used as a makeshift maternity ward.
The illegal operation was shut down, and Knabe is now developing a law to outlaw any other unlicensed birthing centers.