Thursday, April 23, 2009
Detained Immigrants in Danger of Losing Custody of Their Children
The step-up factory raids during the last months of the Bush administration created an outcry over separating detained mothers from their children. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement had to respond by releasing such mothers to care of their children. Now the full consequences of the separation is beginning to show up in local courts. Because child welfare laws differ from state to state, parents could be losing custody of their children. The New York Times reports on one case in Missouri. A Guatemala woman got caught up in a raid, used a false identity and as a consequence is serving a jail sentence and faces deportation on release. Her son of 6 months was placed with relatives, but because they were poor and undocumented they gave him to the care of others. That family began procedure to adopt. The Guatemalan woman did not want to give her child up, but because she could not easily follow the court process and had no Spanish-speaking representation the Missouri Court declared she had abandoned the child and gave him over to adoption. She is appealing. Homeland Security is now investigating the problem.