“Made in USA” Baby Scheme Unearthed

Kuanyi Chen, who sometimes is known as Pangzi, has been charged by Immigration and Customs Enforcement  for a scheme which allowed Chinese citizens to take advantage of birthright citizenship to give birth to children who were US citizens. Under the scheme, Chen advertised that Chinese citizens could come to Saipan for a set sum of money in order to give birth. Once the children were born, they could claim US citizenship status since Saipan is an unincorporated territory of the United States. Under birthright, any child born in the US or to US parents is automatically considered a US citizen and can claim that citizenship.

Chen has made an initial court appearance at the U.S. District Court for the NMI with his attorney Mark Hanson. Chen has been charged with two counts of enticing the illegal entry of aliens and one count of harboring illegal aliens. According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Chen, a Taiwan citizen, recruited Chinese citizens for his scheme, facilitated their travel and provided housing as well as other services so that they could give birth in Saipan. He did this for money, knowing that the Chinese citizens were misrepresenting their reasons for traveling to the US and were intending to violate their parole. Chinese citizens are allowed to enter Saipan for 45 days maximum and in many cases the women Chen recruited overstayed, staying largely hidden in a residential area.

Chen’s scheme was uncovered when Youli Xu and his wife, Rongqin Gao, complained to authorities that they were cheated by Chen. Xu and Gao argued with Chen because Chen restricted the movements of pregnant women involved in the scheme, preventing them from going outside during the daytime. Chen did not want immigration authorities to see the women. Xu and Gao paid Chen $800 for consultation and travel help to get to Saipan. The complaint made by Gao and Xu led US authorities to investigate Chen. After speaking to other customers of his, they arrested the man.

This type of scam is quite popular outside of China as well. It is known as birth tourism. While it is not illegal to come to the US to give birth, it is illegal to misrepresent why one is entering the US and in many cases women entering the US to give birth there do misrepresent why they are entering the US. In many cases, those families who take part in birth tourism are wealthy and take part in birth tourism so that their children can come to the US for college without having to pay the extra fees international students have to pay.