The federal authorities on Thursday accused 19 people in the first crackdown on birth tourism, which would have brought hundreds of pregnant women from China to the United States, according to prosecutors.
Those arrested included Dongyuan Li, 41, whose business was called "You Win USA," which trained pregnant Chinese women on how to enter the United States to give birth. These children would then enjoy all the benefits of American citizenship. In two years, she raised millions through her company, where expectant mothers between $ 40,000 and $ 80,000 each to come to California stayed in a high-end apartment and gave birth, authorities said.
Jing Dong, 42, and 53-year-old Michael Wei Yueh Liu, who reportedly exploited "USA Happy Baby," were also arrested.
More than a dozen other people, including the operator of another similar company, are also facing charges but have returned to China, the US Attorney's Office said in Los Angeles.
The messages left to Li and Dong's lawyers were not immediately sent back to the Associated Press. Liu's lawyer, Derek Tung, said the growing interest of Chinese women in giving birth to American babies is drawing attention to a phenomenon long recognized by citizens of other countries.
Although it is not illegal to visit the United States during pregnancy, the authorities - who were looted by federal agents in 2015 - touted the benefits of having baby American citizens, who could benefit from an education. public education and help their parents immigrate years later.