A Bray boy who was threatened with deportation has been given permission to stay in the country.
Eric Zhi Ying Mei Xue was born in Ireland and despite never having left the country, is not an official citizen.
Born to Chinese parents, Eric is a fourth-class pupil at St Cronan’s Boy’s National School, Bray and has been facing deportation for over a year.
However, following a petition that gathered over 67,000 signatures calling for Eric to be allowed stay in the country, he has been granted his wish.
Minister for Health Simon Harris is among those who signed the petition.
In response to the news, St Cronan’s Boy’s National School tweeted: “Fantastic news for Eric!! We would like to thank all the supporters of our petition and the Minister for Justice for granting both Eric and his mother leave to remain and live a normal life, safe in Ireland.”
Migrants Rights Centre Ireland, a support group for migrants in Ireland also said it was delighted at the decision.
It tweeted: “MRCI team members have been working hard on Eric’s case since last year, and we are overjoyed that he can now live his life free of the shadow of deportation and the heavy burden of being undocumented.
“Eric had the support of his school St Cronan’s, his community in Bray, our caseworkers, local politicians including Minister Simon Harris TD, plus all the wonderful people across Ireland who signed the petition. It shouldn’t take all that to make a child safe in their home.”
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties also voiced its support for Eric saying it’s “wonderful news that Eric Zhi Ying Mei Xue won’t be deported.
“But it’s frightening to think this can happen at all.”
Late last year Minister Harris told TheJournal.ie that he had “made representations to the Department of Justice and Equality in relation to Eric’s situation. I have appealed for Eric to remain in Ireland on humanitarian grounds.
“Quite frankly, Eric is Irish. He was born here, goes to school here and has never lived anywhere else. This is his home. This is his country. I really hope common sense can prevail.”
Eric’s mother, Leena Mei Mei Xue arrived in Ireland from China 12 years ago and was served with a deportation order in 2015 which she is currently appealing.