In California Homes, Tourists Birthed American Babies
LA county center shut as firms offer US trips to give birth
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2011 5:02 AM CDT
"It felt like something wasn't right in there," a neighbor said. "There was a constant barrage of pregnant women going in and out of the house."   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A "birth tourism" center uncovered by officials in Los Angeles County has given fresh ammunition to people calling for a change to the 14th Amendment, which grants automatic citizenship to every baby born in the US. Officials say they discovered that three connected townhouses were being used as a maternity center for well-off women who traveled from China to give birth to babies, which provided the newborns with automatic American citizenship, the New York Times reports.

The center was shut down for building code violations, but officials believe many more exist, and US "maternity packages" are widely advertised in countries including China, Mexico, and South Korea. "These people aren’t doing anything in violation of our laws,” said the director of the Center for Immigration Studies. “But if anything, it is worse than illegal immigrants delivering a baby here. Those kids are socialized as Americans. This phenomenon of coming to the US and then leaving with people who have unlimited access to come back is just ridiculous.”