Authorities in California are investigating a crop of illegally converted maternity centers for Chinese women who come to the U.S. to give birth to American citizens, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The unlicensed birthing centers were recently discovered on a quiet residential neighborhood in San Gabriel, less than 10 miles from Los Angeles, according to the newspaper.
Code enforcement officials on March 8 reportedly shut down the three adjoining two-story condominiums that they say were converted into maternity wards. Ten mothers and seven newborns were reportedly found inside the buildings, the newspaper reports.
On Thursday, a state lawmaker blasted the illegal maternity wards and said the finding underscores the need for immigration law changes, Reuters reports.
California state Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a Republican, called the discovery an abuse of the Constitution's 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship to any baby born in the U.S. -- with few exceptions.
"You wind up with these extreme situations where people will go to any length to get U.S. citizenship," Donnelly told Reuters.