HONOLULU (AP) — A Taiwanese citizen who lives in Saipan was charged in a scheme to hide pregnant Chinese tourists so they could give birth in a U.S. territory, making their children American citizens, according to a federal complaint filed Monday.
The complaint charged Kuanyi Chen with harboring illegal aliens and enticing the entry of illegal aliens to the U.S. 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 U.S. 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.
Youli Xu said his wife, Rongqin Gao, had an argument with Chen because he was restricting pregnant women from going outside before 7 p.m. because they could be arrested for overstaying terms of the visitor program, authorities said.
Xu said he and wife had researched how to give birth to their child outside of China. They also found information about Saipan granting U.S. citizenship to anyone born there after 1986 and information about the 14th Amendment automatically granting citizenship to those born in the United States.
They communicated with Chen via an Internet messaging program and paid him $800 for a 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 July.
Chen was arrested Saturday at the departure gate of a flight bound for Seoul, South Korea. He was in the custody of the U.S. marshal's office.
Neither Chen nor his attorney could immediately be reached for comment.
A detention hearing was scheduled for Thursday.