Deported Parents Losing Custody of Their Children
Migrant children who were separated from their parents at the border are being adopted by families in the U.S. without the consent of their deported parents. The Associated Press went through court documents and immigration records which revealed several cases of children being permanently taken from their families after initial separations. The law says that when a parent is deported without their child, their child is not supposed to be allowed to be permanently adopted. However, holes in immigration laws are allowing state court judges to grant custody of some migrant children. The AP followed the story of one child, Alexa, who was separated from her mother, Araceli Ramos, for 15 months. After months of the mother being in detention and Alexa in foster care, the mother was deported. Araceli wanted her child back, and the foster family that Alexa was placed into allegedly ignored repeated requests to return the child. Months later, the foster parents were ordered to return Alexa, but they instead filed a lawsuit claiming that she would be abused if returned to El Salvador. A judge in Michigan then granted them guardianship. It took pressure from social media and the Salvadoran government for the pair to be reunited. The DOJ finally weighed in, saying that the foster parents “obtained their temporary guardianship order in violation of federal law.” The family’s attorney and the Michigan judge were also found to have violated federal law by not notifying Alexa or her mother about the guardianship proceedings. All of the cases the AP found began during the Obama administration. However, the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policies is making the issue more pertinent. More here.