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May 27, 2017

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A long way to stay 'home'

In just a few days, Ralph and Grazyna Jensen's "NIA — Keep Families Together" petition gathered 750 signatures. Thanks to such strong support, their elder daughter, Krystyna, handed on Monday a copy of their petition to the National Immigration Agency (NIA, 內政部入出國及移民署), hoping for an attentive ear to her legal quandary.

The petition is not just about Krystyna; it included the names of 25 families that are members of the TaiwanDREAM group on Facebook, which has also been growing quickly. Supporters of the petition and members of the group understand that changing the law is a long process, but out of love for their children they are determined to see their demand met.

The current Immigration Act and Regulations Governing Visiting, Residency, and Permanent Residency of Aliens do not allow the children of Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) or Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC) holders to stay in Taiwan after turning 20 without a student or work visa, as they are no longer considered dependents of their parents.

In Kaohsiung, the Jensen family is in touch with the local NIA service station staff who helped refer their case to the NIA headquarters in Taipei.

According to the NIA Kaohsiung staff, Krystyna's request was deemed "pretty reasonable." Her awkward situation could potentially be discussed during the next Immigration Policy Group meeting.

In a phone interview with The China Post on Monday, the NIA's public relations officer, Hsu Chien-lin (徐健麟), spoke of the agency's procedure in dealing with petitions like this.

"The issue involves modifying the law and the country's population policy. There are both opinions for and against relaxation. We will discuss the issue with the Ministry of the Interior and consider it with caution," said Hsu.

Before relaxing the regulations, however, Hsu said that the NIA needs to consider how many people are affected, the extent of relaxation and the legislative process a change would require.

"We will evaluate the possibility of modifying the law from a humanitarian and empathetic point of view," he added.

In the meantime, people like the Jensens will keep working together to vie for their cause in the name of their "love for Taiwan." ■

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