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Immigrant Family Can Appeal For Deaf Son's Welfare

by Dave Reynolds (subscribe)

PHILADELPHIA, PA--An Indonesian immigrant family will have the chance to argue that they should be allowed to stay in the United States in order to protect their deaf son from persecution in their native country.

The U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals on May 31 put a temporary stop to deportation procedures against the family of nine-year-old Joshua Tantoro. The court said that the boy's family would be given the time it needs to make their case that he would be mistreated in Indonesia because of his disability.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Circuit Judge Julio M. Fuentes said the family had "shown some likelihood of success on the merits" of their case.

Joshua's father, Beni Tan, and mother, Kiem Kartadjaja, have been in the U.S. since 2003 trying to gain political asylum after fleeing from violent riots in Indonesia. But the couple lost their bid for asylum that they based on fears that they would they face persecution as ethnic Chinese Christians in the predominately Muslim country.

The couple has reported that, when Joshua attended an Indonesian preschool, other parents would not allow their children to play with him. When he later went to a specialized school, teachers put him in classes with children that had other disabilities, but who were not deaf.

Since he has been attending Pennsylvania's Archbishop Ryan School for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children, Joshua has been learning sign language, and is now starting to tell about other ways he was mistreated while in Indonesia.

Joshua's father remains in the custody of immigration officials at the York County Correctional Facility.