Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New American citizens

It's not just the year of the dragon that will give these new citizens a leg up.

Dragon baby boom in Big Apple
[The] New York Maternity Center… located in a house on a quiet residential street in Bayside, a leafy neighborhood in New York's borough of Queens, will be filled from May through December, Chen said. It contains nine rooms, decorated with floral wall stickers and framed photos of smiling babies.

"The number of pregnant women coming from China will increase by more than 50 percent, compared with numbers in previous years," [director Nancy] Chen said. "I have received phone calls and e-mails from China almost every day since February. This year is so busy that we don't even need to do any promotion in China."…

Owners of two other maternity facilities in the city report similar increases…

The number of middle-class women from China taking part in "birth tourism" has been on the rise since 2007, when the US government started issuing B-2 non-immigrant visas to mainland Chinese, Chen said. By law, babies born in the US are automatically granted citizenship, even if they do not have relatives living in the country…

Before spreading east to New York, maternity centers like Chen's were mainly in West Coast cities, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, and most were owned and operated by immigrants from Taiwan.

Aimed at the Chinese mainland market, maternity centers in New York have a choice of packages for pregnant visitors' varying requirements. The cheapest is 90,000 yuan (about $14,000), while the most expensive package costs up to 800,000 yuan ($127,000)…

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