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June 25, 2017

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Son of deported woman granted legal residency in Taiwan

TAITUNG -- To a seven-year-old boy in Taitung County, finally getting an identification document meant one thing: being able to go on field trips.

The boy, whose name immigration authorities chose not to release, was born to an Indonesia woman, identified by the name Muminah, who had been living illegally in Taiwan. When she was deported by authorities, she left the three-month-old boy with a man surnamed Hsueh.

Hsueh, who had lived with Muminah for a period of time in the eastern county, had assumed the boy was his. It was not until he tried to legally register the child as his that he discovered they have no blood relation. The boy's birth father remains unknown.

Despite the revelation, Hsueh and his family wanted to keep the boy, who with no identification card was not enrolled in the National Health Insurance scheme — and therefore could not go on field trips with his classmates.

When National Immigration Agency worker Chen Yun-ping delivered the alien residence card (ARC) to the Hsueh residence, the boy's a-ma (grandmother) was overcome with emotion.

"We can stop lying to him," she said tearfully, explaining that the family had been telling the boy that his insurance card had gone missing despite his desire to join classmates on the outings.

"Now the first thing to do is to apply for an insurance card," she said.

Holding up his new residence permit, the delighted boy said, "I can be A-ma's child now!"

Although the boy has acquired temporary residence, Chen said, immigration authorities feel it is in the boy's best interests to locate his mother before he can be legally adopted.

The immigration agency said that while the boy's case is unusual, it is not unheard of. Authorities urged members of the public who know of children in similar situations to file reports.

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