CHINO HILLS - Some 70 people picketed a busy city intersection on Saturday protesting what they say is an illegal Chinese maternity operation.
Brightly colored signs reading "Not in Chino Hills" and "No Birth Tourism" decorated the intersection of Peyton Avenue and Chino Hills Parkway for more than two hours.
It was the first protest by the group Not In Chino Hills, which was organized just two weeks ago.
"Chino Hills is a nice family oriented town. We don't want a maternal hotel that is a business in a residential area," said Rossana Mitchell, one of the group's organizers.
"And there's the moral issue," said Mitchell, a 22-year resident of the city.
"My father came to this country from Peru and left us all (eight children) until he earned enough money to get us visas to come here legally, said Mitchell, who became a U.S. citizen at age 17.
"All of us (children) worked in the system and have done really well. There are three doctors among the siblings, said Mitchell, who is a family law attorney in Chino Hills.
What the picketers say is morally wrong about the "maternity motel" is that children born there have dual citizenship and at age 21 can use that to bring family members in the country.
Calls to the three numbers posted on a fence leading up to the hilltop house, which some call a mansion, resulted in the phone on the other end being hung up.
City officials are dealing with code enforcement issues, but not with the alleged illegal maternity operation, Mayor Art Bennett has said.
Karol Arredondo, one of the protesters and a 16-year resident of Chino Hills, said that she has noticed many pregnant Chinese women walking around an apartment complex down a hill from where the alleged maternity hotel is located.
Every so often, a tour bus comes and takes them to Southern California tourist destinations, such as Disneyland and Venice Beach, she said.
Bennett said that code enforcement investigators found out that rooms in the hilltop house, at 15250 Woodglen Drive, have been rented out as motel rooms to bring in Chinese expectant mothers until they deliver a child.
Substantial fees are charged, he said.
"These woman are coming to the United States under false pretenses...They are finding out about this through a website that instructs them on how to come legally, but that is under false pretenses," said Kelly Good, one of the protesters and a 20-year resident of Chino Hills.
"They are pregnant and their goal is to have a baby here in the United States so that the child can be a United States citizen," Good said.
Action should be taken against "these physicians and the hospitals...that are contracting with this `hotel' to treat these residents and their babies," Good said.
Protester Sandy Hayden said that the hilltop house is producing people who will "infiltrate our country."
The children born there will grow up in China and return to the United States to attend college, taking precious college slots away from U.S citizens, she said.
Michele Hawthorne said sewage from a leaky septic tank at the hilltop house slid down onto her property and was probably tracked in her house before realizing what it was.
John Welch, a 25-plus-year Chino Hills resident, said last night a truck to siphon out sludge from the "hotel" septic tank got stuck on the makeshift muddy road which is above his house.
"It had to be towed out," he said.
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