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New immigration horror

Some children taken from their families are being adopted without notice to their parents.

People hold signs at a protest against plans to deport Central American asylum seekers in Los Angeles, California, U.S., May 17, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Despite federal officials insisting migrant children are being reunited with their families, hundreds continue to be detained, and “holes in the system” allow state judges to give custody of these children to American families without notifying their parents.

It’s difficult to track these cases, because custody and adoption records typically are sealed. But an Associated Press story published in the Seattle Times (read it here) describes two specific cases illustrating what can happen. In one, a Missouri couple “managed to permanently adopt a baby whose Guatemalan mother had been picked up in an immigration raid” after fighting a 7-year legal battle. In the other, a Nebraska case, “another Guatemalan mother … got her kids back, but it took five years and over $1 million in donated legal work.”

Allowing U.S. families to get custody of the children of detained or deported immigrants dates back to the 1980s, but was rare and usually involved kids at particular risk until the Trump administration’s mass detentions and family separations raised fears of indiscriminate adoptions.

The AP reports that “John Sandweg, who headed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the Obama administration, said he worries that many more migrant children recently taken from their families may never see them again. ‘We have the kids in the U.S. and the parents down in Central America, and now they’ll bring all these child welfare agencies into play,’ Sandweg said. ‘It’s just a recipe for disaster.'”

Meanwhile, stories abound of deportees being coerced by U.S. immigration agents into signing their kids away, paving the way for mass adoptions.

 

 

 


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