In the last post, this blog began a discussion of a 30-year-old woman’s plight in immigration court. The woman was adopted when she was three-months-old in 1982. Her mother died roughly 8-years later and had never sought to file citizenship paperwork for the child.
The India-born adoptive child turned 18-years-old just 11 months before federal immigration law generally made citizenship automatic in similar types of cases and the 30-year-old woman is now facing deportation. An immigration judge ruled that the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 does not apply to her situation. She appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, which does not control federal courts in Florida, but may serve as persuasive authority.
The federal appellate court agreed with the immigration judge. The immigration court had ruled that the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 does not apply to the woman. The 2000 law grants automatic citizenship to certain foreign-born children who were 18 or younger when the law went into effect on February 27, 2001. The woman missed the cut-off date by roughly 11 months-she was born April 1, 1982 and turned 18 in the year 2000.
The woman is seeking (through immigration law attorneys) to find a way to remain in the only country that she has ever known. The attorneys are considering a variety of options-ranging from appealing the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, to working with the Indian government.
The woman is also considering seeking to withdraw her 2004 guilty plea. She says that she believed that she was a U.S. citizen when she entered that plea and did not know of the potential deportation implications that entering the guilty plea could create.
The woman has no contacts in India, and knows little about the country, other than what she may have learned during her education while growing up in Utah. The woman also suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and feels that deportation could have a severe adverse impact on her health. She says, “The deportation order which may force me to part from my physicians, family, and friends here, could be a death sentence to me.”
Source: Associated Press via Deseret News, “Utah woman adopted as baby faces deportation to India, despite no connections there,” P. Solomon Banda, May 28, 2012