Hong Kong Express Airways has apologised to a customer after forcing her to take a pregnancy test before boarding her flight to Saipan.
Saipan, located in the Northern Mariana Islands is a popular tourist destination, but not for the reasons you'd think. Many people travel to the island to give birth as their children would then be automatically eligible for US citizenship.
Midori Nishida, a Japanese resident was taken aside by Hong Kong Express Airways' airline staff in November and forced to take a pregnancy test, after the test came back negative Nishida was allowed to board her flight to Saipan.
Finally, the airline has issued an apology to NBC News:
"We would like to apologise unreservedly to anyone who has been affected by this," Hong Kong Express Airways said in a statement to NBC News. We took actions on flights to Saipan from February 2019 to help ensure US immigration laws were not being undermined.”
Hong Kong Express Airways claims it was acting on concerns raised by officials of the Mariana Islands as more and more tourists are travelling to the area to give birth. According to the region's data, in 2018 more tourists gave birth in Saipan than its actual citizens.
According to the US Government's official website, there are "no rules prohibiting pregnant visitors from entering the United States" but going to Saipan specifically "to give birth" is prohibited and officials are allowed to deny pregnant people entry to Saipan if it is deemed that they will not be able to pay the medical bills.
However, Midori Nishida is, in fact, a Saipan citizen. Nevertheless, she was still subjected to the invasive procedure under terms of a fit-to-fly assessment even after indicating on the test that she was in fact not with child.
The Airline announced in their statement:
“We have immediately suspended the practice while we review it."
Surely the airline could have avoided all this had they looked at her passport.