US Keeps Child Born Mid-Flight, Deports Mother Facing $33,000 Punishment To Taiwan


On October 7, a UCLA doctor and the flight crew helped a Taiwanese woman deliver a baby girl on China Airlines flight from Bali to Los Angeles at 30,000 feet in the sky. The plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Alaska after the woman’s waters broke six hours into the 19-hour flight from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

On October 17, she was deported by US immigration authorities to Taiwan without her newborn baby amid allegations she concealed her pregnancy to gain American citizenship. While the newborn child is under the care of state authorities in Alaska, the mother might end up having to pay the Taiwanese government (which is the majority owner of China Airlines) to cover the cost of diverting the plane to Alaska. The bill is estimated at $33,000, although the airline media affairs staffer Weni Lee said its insurer is still calculating the cost and will decide whether to ask the mother to cover the cost of the stopover.

Amira Rajput, who recorded the delivery, told ABC News that the new mother was challenged by a border patrol agent who came aboard the plane after landing and asked to see her passport. “He told me that this is something foreign women do, to try and deliver overseas for citizenship,” said Rajput.

A Facebook post by Lucienne Chen, one of the flight attendants who helped delivered the baby, claimed that when Jien’s water broke mid-flight and she started going into labour, she asked: “Are we in US airspace yet?”


Posted by 小陳周遊列國 on Saturday, October 17, 2015

According to Chen, the woman was 36 weeks pregnant and not 32 as she claimed mid-flight. Under Taiwanese aviation regulations, pregnant women are not allowed to fly without a fit-to-travel certificate from the doctor after 32 weeks.

“Not only did you take the lives of both yourself and your child as a joke, you also took the schedules of a plane-full of people as a joke — all because of your child’s American passport! An entire plane had to be diverted, causing scheduling problems for all the other innocent passengers. The crew also had to stay for the night in Alaska. Do you know the true social cost of your actions?” Chen continued in her post.

Entering the US on a tourist visa for medical reasons remains legal as long as mothers fulfill certain requirements. Nonetheless, the incident has sparked a debate about birth tourism in Taiwan where affluent families fly abroad to give birth to gain multiple citizenship for their children.

Lo Shu-lei, a politician with the ruling Kuomintang party, alleged that the woman, named only in reports by her surname Jien, deliberately concealed her pregnancy to board the plane in the hope that she could give birth in America, “because she wanted a US passport” for her child.

“This is a selfish act. It was clearly an act carried out to give the child US citizenship. She affected the travel of other passengers. Is there no punishment?” Shu-lei asked the transportation minister.

Even after all that trouble, it’s not clear the child is a US citizen. It depends on where the plane was when she was delivered. If the plane was in US airspace — above a location on US soil, or above ocean that’s within US territory — she’s a citizen.

Alaska state officials, however, say the baby is eligible for US citizenship. “A baby born in flight has the right to be a US citizen if that is where the child first arrives, even if born in international air space,” said Susan Morgan, spokeswoman for the Alaska Department of Social Services.

This Article (US Keeps Child Born Mid-Flight, Deports Mother Facing $33,000 Punishment To Taiwan) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and


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  1. Why did the flight divert so far north, seems as if Hawaii would be the logical divert location. Unless of course there is more to the story.

  2. Im. Really not sure what the big deal iS Tho I mean comE On when we play the Game Of immigration lets at least be fair. The mexicans do it ALL THR FUCKING TIME, THE IRS COVERS IDENTITY THEFT AND THE MUSLIM ASS KISSING MORON THEY GOT thats supposedbto be running this evil ass country is def. Running ? it… right into the damn ground. Climate. Change smh what a joke ? everyone knows Obama has veen funneling money for his own ill gotten agebda thriugh green energy accounts blah nothing but liars. Let that lady in

    • Dang, you got all that from one little article about a lady giving birth on a plane? Illegal immigrants and Muslims must have ruined your life in the worst way, because you sound like you really hate em. Do you feel the same way for legal immigrants? How about other religions, You hate em too? I hope someday your daughter or even your son comes home with what you hate most.

  3. I dont understand – Did they look at her situation in Taiwan before bullshitting about ‘money’ ‘cost’ and ‘innocent’ travelers?

    Maybe she needed to do this for a better life for the kid and herself? Why are people so quick to judge?

    Of course if her situation isn’t bad and she just wanted to get her baby a US citizenship just for lolz then yeah she should be prosecuted but I didn’t see any real reporting as to why she did it.


    • What is the relation between “better life” and giving a birth on a plane? What “bad situation” she could be facing? Poverty? Does US citizenship make her become rich? If life in US is really better than Taiwan, why can’t she get a US citizenship in a proper way? Maybe immigration? Why to risk in labouring on flight?

      What could make her travel to US when she was 36 weeks pregnant? She was gonna labour and that’s very dangerous for herself and the baby, it could kill both of them.

      She should get a certificate from doctor before the flight, and she didn’t. She knew she will labour during the flight or right after arriving US. Her intention is so clear, a US passport for her child, ONLY.

  4. mother stands first priority to decide about child. gov can allot citizenship based on rules but doesn’t stand right to capture and seize citizen or divide from family.

  5. Honestly. Have a law like New Zealand does. Any child born to a foreign national by default has what every status the parent has. Stops families from being separated.

  6. As a citizen of the U.S. And one reasons why we need to tighten laws I pronounce no baby born here a U.S. Citizen. It’s sad our stupid government will give any foreigner that comes here a business money a new car etc and one reason they do this. But our damned country cannot take care of at own people. If you get offended I care less then it means you are also a foreigner.


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