13 Nov 2013

Northern Marianas keen to curb birth tourism

10:02 pm on 13 November 2013

The governor of the Northern Marianas, Eloy Inos, and the territory's delegate to the US Congress, Gregorio Kilili Sablan, say they are working to try to stop so-called birth tourism.

Birth tourism involves pregnant women flying into the territory solely to have their babies on American soil.

The leaders say they have been talking with Asiana Airlines, Homeland Security and China to try to discourage the activity.

They say Asiana Airlines has agreed to be more vigilant in screening passengers after a report showed the carrier is the airline of choice for those who fly to Saipan solely to give birth.

Mr Inos says his office has also reached out to the Chinese consulate general in Los Angeles and Mr Sablan says he has written to Homeland Security asking it to address the issue.

The territory is also considering a proposal to raise the cost of a birth certificate from the current 20 US dollars to 50,000 dollars for the babies of tourists.