...One might say it is the ultimate gift that South Korean parents can give their newborns. Those who can cough up the $20,000 or so it costs are coming to the United States by the thousands to give birth so their newborns can have American citizenship.If he were ever asked, I have little doubt that Howard Dean would approve of this scheme.
Their reasons range from a desire to enroll their offspring in American schools to enabling them to avoid South Korean military service.
Los Angeles is the most popular destination because of its large Korean-speaking population, along with New York, Boston, Hawaii and even Guam. The practice is also believed to be popular among women from Hong Kong and Taiwan.
So many are doing it that a mini-industry has developed here of agencies that refer expectant mothers to travel agents, immigration lawyers, prenatal clinics, hospitals and even baby-sitters, arranging what are, in effect, package tours for pregnant women.
"From birth to citizenship," advertises one Korean-language Web site (www.birthinusa.com) that helps women give birth in Los Angeles...
"If they could afford it, all my friends would go to the United States to have their babies," Kim said. "My biggest complaint about Korea is the educational system. In high school, you have to study past midnight or else you fall behind the others and can't get on with your life. And since the baby is a boy, I thought it would be a big gift for him not to be burdened with military service."
...South Korean-run Hana has three centers for expectant mothers in the Los Angeles area and last year opened an elegantly furnished postnatal facility called Larchmont Villa, in L.A.'s Koreatown, where women can stay until it is time to fly home. Their services include such conveniences as a private car for pickup at the airport and a guide to help get the baby a Social Security number and passport...
Immigration2005b · Fri, 12/09/2005 - 19:57 · Importance: 4