Four-Year-Old Adopted Daughter Of American Parents Risks Deportation

The case shows how immigrants who attempt to follow the law can find it impossible to become legal residents.

When it comes to immigration, many Americans say that immigrants should just follow the legal process and come in the front door. Several recent cases of productive-yet-illegal immigrants, many with American family members, being deported have been met with the response that they should have become legalized while they were here to avoid deportation. Increasingly, however, there are cases in which people try to follow the legal process, but are stymied by the system. The case of four-year-old Angela Becerra is one such case that illustrates just how broken the American immigration system is.

Angela is the adopted daughter of two American citizen parents. Colorado’s Fox 31 reports that Marco and Amy Becerra adopted Angela when they were residents of Peru in 2014. Marco has dual American and Peruvian citizenship while four-year-old Angela is a citizen of Peru.

Angela was born on May 23, 2014 and was abandoned at birth. “She was 11 days old when she was brought to the orphanage,” her adoptive mother said. Angela’s biological mother “was treated like a dog. She was chained to the table and sex-trafficked. That’s the reality. No running water. No electricity. Very little food.”

Amy said that the Becerras were asked by a woman at the orphanage to foster baby Angela. “She literally placed this little 5-pound baby in our hands and said do you think you guys can take care of her?”

The Becerras agreed and ultimately adopted Angela legally. In 2017, the couple decided to return to the US, in part so that Angela could grow up as an American and benefit from education in American schools. The family now lives in Aurora, Colorado where Amy accepted a job with the State of Colorado and Marco works for the federal government.

Amy started her job in 2017 with the understanding that Marco and Angela would soon join her in Colorado, but Angela’s immigration application kept hitting roadblocks. The US does not normally grant tourist visas for anyone with a current immigration application so it was 13 months before the little girl was allowed to join her mother in Colorado for the first time in March 2018 when she was finally allowed to enter the US on a tourist visa that expires on August 31. No deportation proceedings are currently underway, but after Angela’s visa expires she will be at risk for deportation.

The Becerras continued to follow the legal process, but now, less than a month before Angela’s tourist visa expires, the little girl’s immigration application has been denied. The problem seems to be that Angela’s adoption was formalized in Peru, not the United States.

“I don’t know what it takes to reopen a case. Once it’s closed, it’s closed,” Amy said.

The law does provide for an appeal, but it is unlikely that the process can be completed before the end of August. At the end of the month, when Angela’s tourist visa expires, she will be subject to deportation even though she has no family or home to return to in Peru.

“We’re both citizens. My husband and I have a full legal binding adoption completed and we have a birth certificate that lists no other parent,” Amy Becerra said. “It’s inconceivable that a child of two citizen parents would have to live out their life as an undocumented alien in this country.”

“I’ve followed the path they’ve given me, and it’s such a dysfunctional, uncoordinated system,” Amy said.

The Becerras have contacted immigration attorneys, but at this point are uncertain why Angela’s application was denied. A letter explaining the decision should be received from the government in the next few weeks, but by then Angela may be an illegal immigrant despite the family’s best efforts to follow the law.

The family has also contacted their congressman, Republican Mike Coffman, for help. Coffman’s office is working with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Denver to cut through red tape and try to find a speedy resolution to Angela’s case.

“I mean this is beyond belief,” Rep. Coffman told Fox 31. “I believe we have a broken immigration system, and this is a symptom of that broken immigration system.”

The case is an illustration how even immigrants who attempt to follow the law can find it difficult or impossible to become legal citizens. The Byzantine immigration bureaucracy is fraught with pitfalls and delays that can cause even the most well-intentioned immigrants to be denied legal status and end up being deported.

Comments
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Jack_Krevin
Jack_Krevin

Shrug. Doesn't sound particularly broken. The girl applied to immigrate to America and she got turned down. Perhaps the reason itself was wrong, through we can't say since we don't know the reason why she was denied, but the basic process itself seemed to work just fine. The point of an immigration system is supposed to determine who, if any, are supposed to come here. So focusing on the immigrant as opposed to actual Americans seems wrong headed.

And not to belabor a point but couldn't the couple, I don't know, move back to Peru since they apparently were living there in the first place? At least until they solve the issue of her Visa?

aprilmoon
aprilmoon

I've read a few stories about adoptees being deported, lately. When the laws on the books are wrong, you change them. You don't go after people who are in technical violation through no fault of their own.

Swan
Swan

This is so sad and so wrong. :(

LogicalLibertarian
LogicalLibertarian

I profoundly hate the immigration debate. Why? Because it’s all tied up in emotional antecdotal politics rather than any rational well thought out view. The stricter boarder control advocates point to cases where illegal immigrants have committed horrific crimes and say “look, this wouldn’t have happened if we were tougher on illegal immigration” while the pro illegal crowd put forward doctors, babies and other individuals that have compelling narratives to say ‘look at these people? They’ve not really done anything wrong why should we punish them?” Both narratives are emotionally compelling and logically irrelevant.

It may be callous of me, but when deciding on policy that effects hundreds of thousands of people a rational consideration of facts should be applied. I also have to acknowledge that it seems that neither side of the political aisle has motivation to actually address the issue. This issue is one that is energizing to both bases and brings in lots of $$$. Further, since it largely involves people that are not citizens and therefore cannot vote so there’s little blowback to failure to move policy on the democrats side, and a mass deportation effort is both costly and rife with potential for inhimane treatment which would be disasterous for the republican side.

That having been said, the limbo to me is both undesirable and unsustainable. There are three options as I see it. 1) The status quo - we accept a black market citizenship where people that aren’t officially here continue to work low end manual labor jobs under the table and take part of some subset of services (schools, hospitals) while being excluded from others (social security). This option means the debate continues on indefinitely. 2) Create a path to citizenship that is sensible and achievable for those here. There are of course consequences, particularly the threat of creating an incentive for crossing the border illegally, however I would argue that incentive already exists otherwise illegal immigration wouldn’t occur. However it does create an injustice system where individuals ‘jump the queue’ to immigrate. 3) Engage in a concerted effort to round up and deport people here illegally. On the one hand this is the most just solution as it tries to level the playing field and reward people doing it correctly, but history has shown that any time you ‘round up’ a class of people you are inevitably going to end up with problems of inhumane treatment. If there is a fourth option I don’t see it.

As from my tone it should be clear that I’m personally in favor of the second so I’d like to expand on it.

First is eligibility. There needs to be a threshold of some sort for criminal disqualification. To me that is any crime for which a normal citizen would be sentenced to time behind bars. If it’s a community service or fine punishment, those crimes are minor enough to not be disqualifying in my mind. Next you must be able to show some level of establishment in the country ( job, permanent residence, etc). If you’re a drifter just moving from place you can move on back. An expedited deportation system for future border crossers where due process is executed in a week (legal experts need to chime in on the feasibility of this). Further, resources to actually improve border security in an effective manner. To me this would involve some form of camera system and quick responder at the border. I obviously don’t know the feasibility or cost, but it has to be less costly and more effective than planting a wall.

No solution will be perfect, but the constant appeals to emotion are ineffective.

E.E. Bokbok
E.E. Bokbok

Behold the cruelty of the modern Republican party.

According to it's leader, she's most likely a murder or a rapist who was "sent here" by the Peruvian government.

According to it's leader, she is going to grow up and vote Democrat, so we need to get her out of here before she does that.

According to it's leader, people who come here from other countries are not people, but rather pests who create an infestation:

We have the worst laws! How about chain migration? One person comes in and you end up with 32 people. The person that ran down 18 people on the West Side Highway, he's allowed to have -- and I think eight died. He has 22 members of his family in the United States because of chain migration. So we have to change this stuff, Rush -- Trump, 8/1/2018

The Republican party's leader--and it's administration, and it's policy goals--consider that little girl part of an infestation who will vote for the other party.

According to the Republican's favorite (and mostly exclusive) news source:

"This [immigration by brown people] is a national emergency, and we must demand that Congress act now. ... In some parts of the country, it does seem like the America that we know and love doesn't exist anymore... Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don't like. From Virginia to California, we see stark examples of how radically, in some ways, the country has changed"

Laura Ingraham was defended here and elsewhere in Republican-leaning publications. She's mainstream Republican.

That little girl is from Peru and therefore she's part of the "infestation" that Republicans are trying to clean up lest she grow up to vote Democrat, and work to make our country "unrecognizable".

That's the legacy of the Republican party circa 2018. It will never recover from this. Every developed country has a party representing the racists and the xenophobes--blaming "others" has always been a powerful political force and always will be. Now the GOP can take it's place along side the National Front and others like it.

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