Update On Baby Born On China Airlines Flight To The US

Filed Under: China Airlines, Media

Last Wednesday I shared the story of a woman giving birth on a China Airlines flight from Taipei to Los Angeles. Once it was clear she was going into labor they diverted the flight to Anchorage, though she still gave birth 30 minutes before landing.

There was even a video on YouTube of the woman giving birth, with the flight attendants at her side helping:

There were some questions which arose after this story surfaced, including:

  • Does the baby get US citizenship?
  • How was the woman allowed to fly if she was so pregnant?
  • Did she intentionally get on a flight in hopes of her baby having US citizenship?

Well, it looks like we now have the answers to most our questions, per The China Post.

First of all, the baby is eligible for an Alaska state birth certificate, and therefore eligible for US citizenship. The parents just need to fill out an application form, which costs $30. Here’s the relevant law:

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.”

The mother has been deported back to Taiwan, though no official explanation has been given as to why that happened. As a result, the baby is in the care of family friends in the US.

While I can’t independently confirm the accuracy of this, the story also cites a former China Airlines flight attendant, who makes the following claims, which suggests the woman specifically took this trip in hopes of getting US citizenship for the baby:

Meanwhile, in a widely reported story, a former China Airlines flight attendant that goes by the name of Xiao Chen online expressed her anger on social media, revealing that the pregnant woman reportedly hid the fact that she was pregnant, and even while the cabin crew was helping her deliver the baby, she would asked them intermittently, “Have we reached American airspace yet?”

According to Chen, the cabin crew noticed the woman was experiencing sudden pain and discovered that she was pregnant. However, the woman insisted she was only feeling gassy, the flight attendant said.

Bottom line

I’m curious to see how this plays out further. It’s sort of sad that the mom has to be separated from the baby so early on, but I guess that’s what happens if you intentionally break the rules… which seems to be what happened here.

  1. Many people don’t realize that having your kids in America to get American citizenship is not a good idea if you have sizeable assets back in whatever country you’re from as you’re likely to expose yourself to the global taxation from the IRS due to being an American citizen. Not to mention the interest/penalities etc that will accure due to non-reporting and no statute of limitations (if the kid , (likely) will have bank accounts , property etc tied to their name as they grow up or as the parents move assets around).

  2. As a Taiwanese, I felt ashamed by the woman’s act as it was not simply a fraud. She lied to the ground staff of China Airlines (a 100% Taiwanese carrier), she risked herself and her baby, and delayed all the other passengers just to get another anchor baby! (She gets two anchor babies already, using the same method I suppose) She was just not yet to lie to the Homeland Security officers at LAX border!
    Some say that she just wants to enjoy the benefits of being a US citizen(‘s parent), what I would say, instead, is that she also would like to exploit the social welfare here in Taiwan. (The baby gets Taiwanese citizenship through her parents) Here in Taiwanese health system, many so-called “Taiwanese from the US” come back just to enjoy the cheap medical service provided without paying reasonable premium of the Nat’l Health Insurance. Apparently, both of the former anchor children are staying in Taiwan, and used all the welfare provided…

  3. So screwed up. The baby and the whole family should get immediate citizenship, an apology from Obama (make up a reason) and stipend of 50k for life. To pay for this we should tax legal immigrants 10% more. People that have been programed to follow the law will put up with lot of shit before they explode. Let’s squeeze them more.

    On side note you have been doing more and more controversial topics lately. stirring the pot for more clicks? You should be in politics.

  4. @erik non losers do not do this sort of thing so your suggesting that these people had any sort of assets is laughable if you have lots of assets there are lots of legal ways to immigrate to the US….

  5. It’s possible the “relatives” aren’t relatives and she actually traveled to LA for maternity tourism.

  6. Just so you know, this woman is the most hated woman in Taiwan right now.

    She lied that she was only 32 weeks pregnant when in fact she was 36 weeks pregnant, a much higher risk of miscarriage. China Airlines and insurance companies are considering legal action against the woman for the health care costs as well as the accommodations and plane transfers they have to pay to other passengers because of this detour. Doing all this just so your child can give up 40% of his future paychecks to Uncle Sam?

    She deserves it.

  7. @Nick, it is not just the law but US constitution. Actually, it is from Fourteenth Amendment. That is probably why it is very tough and rough to make a change.

  8. @jay

    You have no idea how many of these “non losers” from Taiwan and Korea are partaking in the so called anchor baby mission. It’s mostly from well to do families that have sizable assets in their home country.

    The less obvious reasons for getting a US citizenship (especially for boys) is to avoid compulsory military duty (esp. in S. Korea), send their kids to international schools, and attend universities in the USA when the time comes, in addition to other perks that come with holding the “eagle” passport.

    As for the double taxation, according to the latest figure, Americans whose income is foreign earned can take either an exclusion up to $100k for 2015, or tax credit depending on your taxable income position. So the double tax effect is somewhat marginalized overall.

  9. These people having kids here from other countries are ridiculous. And to divert a flight because this lady who obviously should NOT be traveling is insane.

    Pregnant women should not be able to fly into the US in 8 month of preg.

    Anchor babies=taxpayers wasted $$

  10. @Nick there are many other ways to penalize the “anchor baby” phenomenon without ditching the 14th amendment, which has been critical to the successful integration of so many millions of genuine, legal immigrants. And to be clear, it actually isn’t that easy for a US citizen to sponsor a parent for immigration. The wait for a visa number can take over a decade, and the process can’t start until the child is an adult with a job.

  11. @Jay I’m just saying people shouldn’t chase US citizenship without realizing the consequences. Besides what she did isn’t illegal its just morally wrong like cheating on your girlfriend/boyfriend. Anyways in my field of work many people are suggested to give up their US citizenship when they have accumulated enough assets and maintain control of them through other entities etc. Having a US citizenship isn’t a benefit if you’re worth past a certain amount. But I suppose you’re right that this person will unlikely accumulate at least $50 million in assets for it to be worthwhile. (reason I mention it is because many times wealthier kids do not plan properly and inadvertently get US citizenship or stay too many days in the US and become a taxable body per the IRS rulings. There’s a lot of wealthier people out there who are caught off guard when they suddenly get a tax bill.

  12. As a Taiwanese American who is very familiar with this particular “practice”, most people do this to:

    1) Skip military duty is respective countries (whether it be Taiwan, South Korea… or wherever else, fyi not limited Asian countries).

    2) Enjoy welfare benefits available to “foreign” nationals with Taiwanese parents – easier entry requirements to high schools / universities in Taiwan and maybe even scholarships.

    3) Enjoy one of the cheapest and readily available universal health care in Taiwan. Case in point, it took my mom (US citizen) over a month to get an appointment here for possible cancer, another month to see a specialist, then she was redirected to the original hospital. Made an appointment in Taiwan the same Thursday, saw a specialty doctor right away the following Monday.

    4) Her son can easily “return” to the US for higher education if desired.

    I make a decent living (6 figures) and still find the universal health care here extremely inefficient and way too pricey. I too will exploit the universal health care system in Taiwan when I become eligible in a couple of year, so i can’t really blame the woman for trying to provide the best possible “environment” for her kids.

    What I have problem with is lying and risking the life of her unborn son – and delaying the whole plane, she needs to be punished in some way. And after reading her “blog” (written in Chinese), it is clear that she has no clue about global taxation and any other “duties” that come with being an US citizen.

    This was her first time flying the plane by herself, for instance. *facepalm*

  13. Well the good senators in Taiwan has asked the Minister for the Department of Transport, who owns the national carrier, to sue the women for the expenses incurred due to the diversion, and the Minster has said it’d be done through the insurance company. They’ve also encouraged the other 200 odd passengers on that flight to file a civil suit against the mother. Having a anchor baby at the wrong time could get very expensive for this mum…

  14. Being eligible for an Alaska state birth certificate means nothing as far as US citizenship goes. The Alaska law is irrelevant to the citizenship issue since citizenship is a federal issue and not governed by state law. US law only confers citizenship on a baby born on a vessel or plane within the territorial waters of the US. So the issue is the location of the plane at the time of birth.

  15. Just calm down.
    This happens a lot even on air india to US and Canada.
    A lot of Indians, African do this too.

    People always want to have better life perk thats just human nature.
    Nothing can be blamed.
    Just like here we collect points and “wisely” Maximize the benefits.

  16. @Link

    Yes, we maximize benefits, but not at the expense of causing inconvenience to another 200 passengers and risking her life and the baby’s life.

  17. The time has surely come to stop dual citizenship. You have to choose one over the other. It is unfair to the billions of people who do not have it.

  18. @Barbican Andy,

    At least she’s not having the baby on the NHS and then leaving without paying the bill!

  19. @ME
    How exactly did this particular “anchor baby” waste taxpayer money? The cost to issue the Alaskan birth certificate?
    As pointed out by many other people, the anchor babies oftentimes are normally raised in Taiwan, and don’t come to the US for college (paid for by their parents or through scholarships) or to work (and they can pay taxes to the US government. Yeah…not quite seeing where the taxpayer is affected by this particular anchor baby.

  20. How does no one have a problem with the fact that a plane going directly from southeast Asia to Los angles California made an emergency landing in Alaska. That’s ok with everybody? That seems like a legitimate flight path? Fuck me then. I must be the idiot. Don’t be afraid to ask the question!!! It’s a broad highway with many fellow travelers.

  21. V: The shortest path between two points on the surface of a sphere is sometimes called a “great circle.” If the two points are both on the same side of the equator, the great circle will bow toward the nearest pole (in this case, the North Pole). Here is an illustration of the great circle for Taipei to Los Angeles: http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=tpe-lax&MS=bm&DU=mi , although I do not know if that map takes prevailing winds into account.

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