Good news and bad news in the birth tourism case involving immigration lawyer Ken Z. Liang who was charged with accepting $6,000 from Chinese national Ying Wu in exchange for his advice on how she could flee the U.S., despite a court order that she remain as a material witness. Wu was later apprehended at LAX. To deliver her anchor baby in California, Wu paid birth maternity hotel operators $40,000.
|A conviction comes in a prominent Chinese maternity hotel case in California.
The good news: a U.S. District Court judge sentenced Liang, who represented several women caught in the 2015 federal investigation of three Chinese birth tourism hotels in Orange, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties, to 21 months in a federal prison, and a $1,000 fine. The State Bar of California suspended Liang’s license.
Ten of the 29 implicated in the birth tourism scheme ordered to remain included some pregnant women who fled for China, and presumably were thwarted in their goal of having U.S. citizen children.
The bad news: Liang got off lightly. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerry Yang argued that Liang should have gotten three years, and been assessed a $50,000 fine. Yang described Liang as “remarkably brazen,” and a person who “lies about the truth.”
Worse, even though federal officials suspect that birth tourism hotels You Win USA Vacation Resort, USA Happy Baby Inc. and Star Baby Care may have been involved in visa and tax fraud, money laundering and conspiracy, no charges have been filed against the operators.
Analyzing the Liang/Wu birth tourism case on the whole, it’s a small step forward, and may cause prospective clients in China and elsewhere to pause. But more vigorous and more frequent federal investigations into the fraudulent industry that mocks American citizenship are immediately required.
Most women who take advantage of birth tourism facilities have legally entered the U.S. on valid visas. However, many have lied on their applications, a crime that could ban them for re-entry for up to a decade.
Another birth tourism problem is automatic citizenship granted to children born on U.S. soil even if their mothers are illegal immigrants or engaging in visa fraud, and are under the jurisdiction of another country. Tell Congress to eliminate this unearned valuable benefit: Then sign CAPS petition here to see where presidential candidates stand on this issue.