Few Los Angeles residents would consider adoption as a major sticking point when it comes to deportation cases. After all, under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, children from outside the U.S. who become adopted are, more or less, granted automatic citizenship (there are varying circumstances that can complicate the process).
However, that law does not apply retroactively — and it is this complication at the center of a deportation case involving a 30-year-old woman who was legally adopted almost immediately after her birth.
Hailing from India, the 30-year-old was legally adopted and was allowed in the U.S. But this was prior to the Child Citizenship Act; and before the woman’s adoptive mother could complete the necessary paperwork that would grant her adopted daughter citizenship, she succumbed to breast cancer.
That put the 30-year-old in legal limbo, and when she pleaded guilty on a check forgery charge –a criminal act that makes an individual subject to deportation — and then subsequently violated her probation three years later, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement flagged her for deportation. A lower court deemed her deportable, a decision that was upheld by an appellate court. After a nearly 30-year (and, under adoption, legal) stay in the U.S., it seems the woman will have to leave the country.
Such a legal loophole only highlights the potential problems presented by the current immigration system in the U.S., and with the laws in a constant state of flux, it can be confusing for immigrants who run into legal issues. Hopefully this unfortunate shortcoming of the law regarding adoption and deportation will be addressed soon.
Source: Multi-American, “How does an adoptee get deported? More easily than one might think,” Leslie Berestein Rojas, May 29, 2012