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Thread: CA - Orange moves to shut down motel that serves as birth tourism venue

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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    CA - Orange moves to shut down motel that serves as birth tourism venue

    Orange County Chinese women also are using the motel as part of the traditional 30-day confinement following birth, says JR Motel attorney.

    By ROXANA KOPETMAN | Orange County Register
    PUBLISHED: March 3, 2020 at 3:07 p.m. | UPDATED: March 3, 2020 at 3:07 p.m.

    Planning commissioners in Orange voted to revoke the permit of a small motel that operates as a temporary home for pregnant Chinese women.

    The two-story 28-room JR Motel – which has no sign and doesn’t apper to take reservations from the general public – has violated numerous building, planning and fire codes, and has been operating more as a lodging home or boarding house in a zone that permits neither, city officials said.

    “What is very clear, it’s not a motel,” said Commissioner David Vazquez.

    Instead, the JR Motel is believed to be a venue for birth tourism, a controversial but legal practice that has become common in Southern California.

    The fate of the motel at 428 E. Lincoln Avenue is now in the hands of the City Council, which will consider at an as-yet unscheduled meeting the planning commission’s recommendation to revoke the permit at an as-yet unscheduled meeting.

    The JR features a nursery room, strollers and three meals a day for its occupants, as well as transportation to and from doctor appointments – all earmarks of a business in which pregnant foreign nationals pay operators to travel to the U.S., give birth, and return home with babies who are American citizens.

    While the industry is legal, some birth tourism operators have been prosecuted by federal officials for encouraging their clients to lie to customs officials when entering the country, which is a crime. And the business has prompted demands from some, including President Donald Trump, for an end to birthright citizenship.

    Tony Lu, the attorney representing the motel’s owner, said after the Planning Commission meeting that he’s hopeful he can still work with city officials to iron out a solution. While some of the motel’s guests are from China, others are Orange County women practicing the traditional 30-day Chinese confinement after giving birth, Lu said. (During that 30-day period, the new moms follow strict dietary rules and do not go out while they are taken care of either at home or in a post-partum center.)

    “We also have locals and their family members staying,” Lu said.

    The stigma of birth tourism and the “bad history on this (project) has overshadowed our efforts to make this proper and right,” Lu added.

    Planning commissioners said they are not revoking the permit because the facility is used as a birth tourism venue. They voted to shut down the motel, they said, because the owner did not accurately describe the facility when he sought the permit in 2015 and, later, after final review and approval, he made unpermitted alterations such as subdividing rooms and adding bedrooms.

    “You knew what you were doing,” Commissioner Ernest Glasgow told JR Motel owner Chi Huang, who has an inactive contractor license affiliated with JR Investment Limited.

    Most of the violations have since been corrected, both sides said.

    Meanwhile, the JR Motel was the only lodge in the city that did not pay a transient occupancy tax. The JR began paying hotel taxes last October, city officials said.

    Motel attorney Lu said his client would agree to most conditions city officials recently wanted to impose for the facility to stay open, including periodic inspections and requiring 90 % of the motel to be “transient,” which mean guests would stay for no more than 30 consecutive days.

    “We just have to do it differently. We’re willing to work with the city,” Lu said.

    But city officials said they had been fooled once and were not confident of any assurances given now.

    “There were no violations when it was approved. And then, there were,” said Mary Binning, senior assistant city attorney.

    Commissioner Doug Willits told the owner that he has shown “a blatant disrespect” for conditions agreed to in the permit, and that the motel has “created a tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars.”
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  2. #2
    Moderator Beezer's Avatar
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    Apr 2016
    EVERY U.S. Birth Certificate issued needs to be revoked now!
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  3. #3
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Why Did This Exist in the First Place?! California Shuts Down Chinese Birth-Tourism M

    Why Did This Exist in the First Place?! California Shuts Down Chinese Birth-Tourism Motel That Took Advantage of American Birthright Citizenship

    By Cassandra Fairbanks
    Published April 17, 2020 at 2:19pm

    A city in California has ordered the shutdown of a “birth-tourism” motel that specifically catered to pregnant Chinese women who travel to the United States to deliver babies and earn them citizenship.​

    Council members in the city of Orange voted unanimously to revoke the JR Motel’s conditional use permit on Thursday and ordered them to shut down by the end of the month.

    The JR Motel does not rent rooms to the public, instead, they only cater to wealthy Chinese families who travel to the states to give birth and take advantage of America’s birthright citizenship.

    “Though the practice isn’t illegal, city officials said such long-term residency at the motel fits the category of a boarding or lodging house, and the location, 428 E. Lincoln Avenue, is not zoned for either,” the OC Register reports.

    The motel was also in violation of multiple building, fire and safety codes.

    “His violations were egregious. And from the get go,” Councilwoman Kim Nichols told the Register.

    A lawyer for the motel owner had fought for city council to hold off on making a decision until May so that the owner could attempt to sell the property. The owner, Chi Huang, claims he has several interested buyers, but did not disclose who or where they were from. The register reports that 10 of the rooms are currently occupied by pregnant women from China who cannot travel back now due to the restrictions from the coronavirus. They claim that they are not accepting any new “clients.”

    “His client, from 2015 to present, demonstrated very little respect for our law, very little respect for our community, very little respect for the human life of his tenants. And he was focused solely on making money,” Councilman Chip Monaco told his colleagues during a video conference where they made their decision. “Yet Mr. Lu right now is asking us to give his client an opportunity to make money on the back of all the violations we have seen to date.”

    “I am in no way interested in helping Mr. Huang capitalize and make money yet again on his poor bad faith behavior in this town. If there was ever a case to revoke a (permit,) if there are any criminal charges we could pursue, I would be completely and 100 % supportive of that,” Monaco said.

    California is a popular destination for birth tourism.

    “In 2015, federal agents raided homes and apartments across Southern California in a first-of-its-kind raid targeting birth tourism companies. Last December, an Irvine woman was sentenced to a 10-month-prison term, believed to be the first sentence handed to a birth tourism operator helping foreign nationals commit immigration and visa fraud. The woman had already served that time in prison and was released upon sentencing, which included an order of deportation. She didn’t wait to be deported, her attorney said, and left for China in early January,” the Register report concluded.
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