The U.S. investigators launched raids at dawn on Tuesday at places suspected to have been offering “maternity tourism” facilities and services to women from foreign countries. All these are done with a plan to give birth to a child in the U.S. so that it can become eligible for the U.S. citizenship.
As per the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, with this motive in mind, pregnant women from other countries of the world pay up to $50000 for such conveniences that include food, lodging, and transportation, but not medical care. The women pay in cash for checks during the pregnancy and the delivery of the child. Babies born in the U.S. reaching adulthood, become eligible to apply for visas for their family members living in other countries.
Virginia Kice, the ICE spokesman, told that the raids conducted at over three dozen places were aimed at collecting further evidences of various criminal violations such as visa and tax related frauds, conspiracy, and money laundering. According to Kice, maternity tourism businesses thrive mostly on the Chinese women who paid hefty sum of money for the services that included getting social security numbers and U.S. passports for their children. Kice added that those operating such businesses prompt their clients to falsify their purpose of visit to the U.S. in order to get tourist visas for entry into the U.S. The women were further instructed, ICE added, to wear loose clothing to avoid detection of baby bumps, and carrying of baby related luggage on board.
However, it is worth mentioning that pregnant women entering the U.S is not against the U.S laws, but gaining entry by misrepresentation, fraud, or deception constitutes a criminal act.