Baby Born on L.A. Bound China Airlines Flight Eligible For US Citizenship – Mother Deported!

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A woman who gave birth to a baby girl on a China Airlines flight bound for Los Angeles from Taiwan’s capital Taipei has been deported back to Taiwan while the child remains with family friends in the U.S. for the time being.

Inflight Delivery

The woman allegedly flouted regulations by not making her pregnancy known to the airline including not obtaining a ‘Fit to Fly’ certificate. The flight was diverted to Anchorage, Alaska where the lady and her daughter were given medical assistance.Children born on board aircraft are a rare event though it happens from time to time. The circumstances of this extraordinary delivery however lead one to assume that the women deliberately planned to carry her unborn child to the U.S. for delivery for citizenship purposes. Apart from the legalities of such action it is also highly risky as this case outlines.

Thankfully both mother and child are doing well health wise, even though the woman has in the meanwhile been deported back to Taiwan after receiving medical assistance. The child, who will be eligible for a Alaska birth certificate and U.S. citizenship in the meanwhile remains in the U.S. with family friends.

The China Post reported on the matter (access here) citing U.S. officials.

A baby, delivered mid-flight from Taiwan to Los Angeles, has been confirmed by the state government in Alaska to be eligible for a state birth certificate, Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA, 民航局) said yesterday.

In the U.S., citizenship is automatically granted to those born within or subject to its jurisdiction.

The mother, however, was denied access to the United States. The CAA said that after an investigation, the mother did not breach Taiwan’s immigration and deportation regulations or criminal law and that they have yet to receive an explanation from the U.S. for barring the mother from entering the country, the CAA stated.

The newborn is currently under the care of family friends in the U.S. The mother returned to Taiwan on late Saturday, accompanied by airport police and officials from the National Immigration Agency.

Either there is some translation error or I fail to see why Taiwan Immigration regulations and criminal laws would prevent their citizens from being deported from another country if they are found in violation there.

According to Alaska Dispatch News, Sarana Schell, spokesperson for the state’s Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), said in an email Thursday afternoon that under state statutes on birth registration, the child is eligible for an Alaska birth certificate, regardless of the state’s 12-mile territorial limit.

“(A) child born in international airspace and then brought into (Alaska) will have her or his birth registered here,” Schell said. “It doesn’t hinge on how far out the child was born, it hinges on him or her getting out of a moving conveyance here.”

Schell stated that the only remaining procedure for the child to become an American citizen is for the parents to file an application, which costs US$30 (NT$960).

This story has been all over the internet and people began discussing if or if not the child would be eligible for U.S. citizenship. Turns out all the smart people who said ‘No’ weren’t so smart after all as above quoted statement shows. Receiving the citizenship is now simply a formality.

A video on YouTube shows the crew holding the little girl after the delivery on the floor of the main cabin. The crew first moved the woman into Business Class but it was impossible for the doctor on board, a UCLA physician, to perform any treatment let alone a child delivery there.

After the dust settled, the joy quickly gave way to accusations the mother inquired during the delivery if they were ‘in U.S. airspace yet’.

A former China Airlines Flight Attendant who witnessed the scene vented on her Facebook page as Shanghaiist reported (see here).

A former flight attendant with China Airlines said she was coming forth with the information because she was infuriated with how her former employer had exploited the incident to create a heartwarming story for the media.

In a post on her Facebook page which has been shared more than 20,000 times since Saturday, Lucienne Chen says the woman in question failed to inform the airline upon purchase of the ticket, as well as ground staff upon check-in at the airport, that she was pregnant.

Before take-off, flight attendants had already noticed that there was a pregnant woman on board, Chen wrote, but she wrote off their concerns by saying that she was “just feeling a little bloated”.

When the woman’s water bag broke mid-flight and she started going into labor, she was advised by flight attendants to lie down and prepare for delivery. The woman, however, insisted she would deliver later, and kept asking, “Are we in US air space yet?”

While the actions of the passenger (especially if they have been deliberate) were irresponsible this whole vent comes across as a bigmouth ex-flight attendant claiming to be some sort of an expert. Where would she get verified information such as this what happened prior to the flight etc. For what it’s worth she is nothing but a regular passenger who maybe knew some crew members. Anyway…

The woman, surnamed Jian, has since been deported by US immigration authorities. Upon her arrival back in Taiwan, she was ambushed by the media. Covering her face with a jacket, she refused to answer their questions. She has been separated from her newborn child, now under the care of state authorities in Alaska.

It would be interesting to receive an official statement from U.S. authorities regarding the basis of this deportation and the withholding of the child. I’m not familiar with Taiwanese law regarding citizenship but common practice is that the child is also eligible for citizenship of the parents. Maybe it’s just an administrative matter until a Taiwanese passport is applied for and produced.

Conclusion

Separating mother and child even under these circumstances appears to be a knee jerk reaction by U.S. authorities and is totally uncalled for. As long as the mother can pay for her medical expenses and remainder of her stay they should sort out this matter and then return to Taiwan. There is no Taiwanese ‘Consulate’ (or ‘Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office’ as its called since the U.S. has limited recognition of Taiwan) in Anchorage. The closest one is in San Francisco or Vancouver, Canada.

I guess the bottom line is that it would be best to avoid situations like this as a parent, considering the well being of yourself and the child. Though when people are desperate somethings desperate measures are taken. On a side note: What does Donald Trump have to say about this?

 

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