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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chinese-Born Children Immigrate To Hong Kong to Join Their Parents

HONG KONG -- The first group of child immigrants from China arrived in Hong Kong on Friday under a new immigration law.

The plight of the children, born in marriages between Hong Kong and Chinese citizens, has been a major issue for the Hong Kong government since the end of British rule July 1.

Hong Kong's China-written constitution gives them the right to live in the territory. The new immigration law requires the children to get a certificate of residence from the government.

Impatient with a daily quota, some parents have smuggled their children in.

A Immigration Department spokesman said the Hong Kong government has issued more than 4,000 such certificates to the Chinese authorities.

Despite Hong Kong's return to Chinese rule, mainland Chinese still need special permission to enter the territory.

The government estimates there are 66,000 children in China with one Hong Kong parent, usually a man who traveled to the mainland for work or to marry. Other reports say the real number may be double that.

Earlier this week the Hong Kong High Court agreed to hear a legal challenge next month to the new immigration law. Lawyers for the children say the law is unconstitutional.