Federal authorities arrested 20 individuals this week in the first-ever crack down on business that help foreign women travel to the United States to give birth so their children can receive automatic U.S. citizenship. The individuals were charged with conspiracy, visa fraud and money laundering.

The businesses, located in Southern California, helped Chinese women come to the United States to give birth. It's not illegal to enter the country while pregnant, but the businesses encouraged the women to lie about the reason for their travel to hide their pregnancies.

U.S. authorities say that some of the women the businesses helped worked for the Chinese government, which could cause a risk to national security when their children receive citizenship.

"I see this as a grave national security concern and vulnerability," said Mark Zito, assistant special agent-in-charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s homeland security investigations in Los Angeles. "Are some of them doing it for security because the United States is more stable? Absolutely. But will those governments take advantage of this? Yes, they will."

One of the businesses, claimed to have started in 1999, has advertised that it has brought more than 8,000 foreign women to the United States to give birth. The couples can pay anywhere from $40,000 to $80,000 for the three-month trip.

An estimated 350,000 children are born in the United States each year to parents who are neither U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. Ending birthright citizenship is one of NumbersUSA's 5 Great Immigration-Reduction solutions and recently received national attention when Pres. Trump said he could end the practice through executive order.

For more on this story, see the Associated Press or the ICE press release.

Birthright Citizenship

Updated: Fri, Feb 15th 2019 @ 10:35am EST