Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free;The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,Send these, the homeless,Tempest-tossed to meI lift my lamp beside the golden door!US law immigration laws and state adoption laws can be used to snatch kids away from their countries, send them helplessly back, and separate families against their will.
US law, until recently, relied on those who adopted internationally to file for citizenship for their children, some adoptees have been - or are faced with - deportation to a country now foreign to them. These tragic situations dispel two myths: 1) that adoption creates "forever families," and 2) that adoption is "the same as if' a child is born to" their adoptive parents - despite falsified birth certificates that make it appear so. These adoptions are mere shams and are a shameful abuse of people's lives.
Shame, shame, shame on the U$A and our too lax adoption policies and practices that fail to protect innocent children we so glibly claim to "rescue" as we use immigration laws as a yet another excuse to create more faux "orphans" of living, caring parents.
Give me, give me, give me.... translates onto give us your children and we will discard them like garbage when we are displeased or simply we because we "forgot" or never got around to fining a paper that is vitally important for them. Or we take the kids and discard the parents like so much unwanted trash.
The laws requiring adoptive parents to file for citizenship changed in 2004, however, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), "a large number of adoptees have been deported in recent years. Many of them said they were unaware of their non-citizen status."
Jennifer Edgell Haynes was adopted from an Indian orphanage by an American couple from Atlanta Georgia via American Aid for International Adoption. She was seven years old.
"Unfortunately the adoption was a fraud and within a year of arriving in the United States I found myself placed with a foster family who later adopted me, where I was sexually abused and physically beaten. Thereafter for the next ten years I was shuffled from foster home to foster home," she said.
All the while Jennifer had no reason to doubt her American citizenship. She married and has two children. But in 2008 she was deported back to India as a result of a minor drug charge and is now desperately trying to return to her husband and children. She was reunited with a brother in India but longs for her children.
Kairi Abha Shepherd faces a similar fate. Born in India, Kairi, now thirty and diagnosed with MS, was adopted by an American single mother from Utah in 1982. When Kairi was just eight years old her single adoptive mother died of cancer and Kairi was cared for by "guardians."
In 2004 Kairi was convicted of forgery to support a drug habit. The Indian government is begging for compassion but the US government, so far, says she must be deported simply because her adoptive mother or guardians never filed for citizenship on her behalf.
A Korean-born woman, unnamed by the press, was adopted at eight-months old to America was being held in detention in Arizona facing deportation in January 2011. Like Jennifer, this 31-year-old is also a mother - of three children! The Korean consulate requested the deportation decision be withdrawn. But the US government insisted. She had been arrested twice for theft and the US was following standard protocol for ILLEGAL RESIDENTS. “Although [she] was adopted as an infant, she is only a green card holder and not a citizen.”
Blanca Catt was born in Mexico and smuggled into the US as a toddler. She was then removed from allegedly abusive parents and placed in foster care in Oregon. She was placed with the Catt family when she was five and adopted by them 3 years later. Blanca committed no crimes. She found out when she applied for a driver's license at 16 that no one ever filed for citizenship for her and faced deportation.
"The state's not really denying that DHS messed up," said Blanca's attorney, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Catt and her mother. "The state's position is that because Blanca and Lisa didn't bring suit until October, 2009, it's too late."
But Oregon's Department of Justice also says its responsibility for Blanca ended the day the Catts finalized her adoption, regardless of whether her legal status had been resolved at that time. "There's no statute that requires DHS to finalize the citizenship of children in their custody," said Kate Medema, an Oregon Department of Justice spokeswoman. If the Catts had gone to Mexico to adopt Blanca, she would have automatically become a U.S. citizen when she entered the country thanks to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. However, that federal law does not apply to anyone entering the country illegally. Blanca was just 19 and very frightened, facing deportation in 2010 without speaking any Spanish.
Despite a great deal of press surrounding her case at the time (2010) I can find no follow-up on how it was resolved.
Russell Green was born to a Korean mother and an American soldier and has lived in the U.S. for over 30 years. He arrived in Massachusetts from Korea as a 12-year-old boy, but after only a few months, his "forever parents" returned him to the adoption agency before his adoption was finalized. Russell was then placed with a single foster parent living in Brooklyn, New York who cared for older boys and who promised to adopt him. Although this foster parent renamed him "Russell David Green," he did not legally change Russell's name, adopt him, and facilitate his naturalization. Instead, he exposed Russell to alcohol, marijuana, and abuse and the state neglected to file citizenship papers.
A father of three, Russell currently faces possible deportation to Korea – a country whose language he cannot speak.
For a complete list of 20+ such cases, see Deportation case at PoundPuppy Legacy.
ADOPTION & DEPORTATION - DEPORTATION & ADOPTION: Either way it shatter lives and destroys families
Felipe Montes is marred with two children he provided sole support of his family because of his wife's disability. She is a US citizen, he was not. On Dec. 3, 2010 he was arrested for driving without a license and sent back to Mexico and as of the last report, his children - all under five - were facing being placed with the state for adoption.
This is just one such case. The Applied Research report "Shattered Families" revealed that more than 5,000 children of deported parents or in ICE custody are currently in adoptive homes.
In just the first six months of 2011, there were more than 46,000 cases involving deported mothers and fathers who had left their U.S.-born children behind.
More than a fifth of the 391,000 undocumented immigrants deported last year were the parents of U.S. citizens.
Encarnacion Bail Romero, says her son Carlos was taken from her against her will while she was in federal custody for an immigration-related crime, and hopes to regain custody in a trial that starts later this month. Seth and Melinda Moser of Carthage, Missouri who want to adopt the five-year-old boy have waged a court battle.
The case is being called part "a growing trend in which immigrants are being deemed unfit parents because they crossed the border illegally." More on this case here, and here where I first blogged about this case 12/21/10.
Threats of deportation also impact undocumented citizens and cause them to loose custody of their children. It happened to Vilma Ramirez, 35, from Brentwood, Long Island. Originally from El Salvador her lack of English skills coupled with threats of immigration caused her to allow a NYC couple to take custody of her child who she subsequently battled unsuccessfully to block the adoption of. Her story is here first blogged about here on 3/20/11.
After asking Adam Pertman yesterday why he has not spoken out about these atrocities, he has written this Huffington Post on the subject.