A Republic of China citizen who lives in Saipan was charged in a scheme to hide pregnant Chinese tourists so they could give birth in a US territory, making their children US citizens, according to a federal complaint filed on Monday.
The complaint charged Chen Kuan-yi (陳廣義), 39, with harboring illegal aliens and enticing the entry of illegal aliens to the US Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
“Chen is involved in the recruitment and facilitation of travel, housing and other services for citizens of the People’s Republic of China who travel to Saipan ... from China for the purpose of giving birth to United States citizen children,” the complaint states.
Under a temporary visitor program, Chinese nationals can enter the US territory for no more than 45 days.
The case came to light when the husband of one woman told federal agents they were cheated and victimized.
Xu Youli said his wife, Gao Rongqin, had an argument with Chen because he was restricting pregnant women from going outside before 7pm because they could be arrested for overstaying under the terms of the visitor program, authorities said.
Xu said he and his wife had researched how to give birth to their child outside of China. They also found information about Saipan granting US citizenship to anyone born there after 1986 and information about the 14th Amendment automatically granting citizenship to those born in the US.
They communicated with Chen via an Internet messaging program and paid him an US$800 consultation fee that included guidance on traveling during the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy to avoid detection by immigration officers, the complaint states.
The complaint identified at least five of Chen’s suspected customers who entered Saipan in March and had not left as of last month.
Chen was arrested on Saturday at the departure gate of a flight bound for Seoul, South Korea. He was in the custody of the US marshal’s office.
Neither Chen nor his attorney could immediately be reached for comment.
A detention hearing has been scheduled for tomorrow.