Child Custody of Undocumented Immigrants

by keith on July 23, 2013

The awful story taking place in the shadows

An alarming trend is developing where undocumented immigrant parents are losing their children to U.S. adoptive parents. Child custody of undocumented immigrants parents is a disturbing trend. In recent years have been losing parental rights because courts are ruling that it’s not in the best interest of their children to be placed with undocumented or deported parents. The children are instead being allowed to be adopted by U.S. citizen families.

One heartbreaking story

On July 18, 2013, a county judge in Missouri issued an order stripping a Guatemalan immigrant mother named Encarnación Bail Romero of her parental rights and authorizing the adoption of her son Carlos by a U.S. couple. Ms. Romero is an undocumented immigrant who was originally detained in an immigration raid at her employment in a Missouri poultry plant. While Ms. Romero was in detention her baby was being cared for by a U.S. couple who moved to adopt him. Her case had been appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court who remanded the case back down to the trial court because her parental rights had been unfairly terminated when the court failed to take the proper legal steps. However, upon remand the trial court agreed with the original decision and again terminated Ms. Romero’s rights.
In another case, Mr. Felipe Bautista Montes is fighting for custody of his children in North Carolina. Mr. Montes had been deported 21 months prior for a series of traffic violations. His children were placed into foster care when the child welfare department determined that the mother could not care for the children alone because of her struggles with mental health issues and substance abuse. Mr. Montes was able to obtain a 90 day visa for humanitarian purposes so that he could attend the custody hearings.

Does the U.S. know better what is best for a parent’s child?

Although, Mr. Montes is fighting for custody of his children so that he can take them back to Mexico, Child Welfare is opposing this because of the conditions in Mexico.

Call us if you need your voice to be heard!

These are only two cases out of thousands where undocumented immigrants are fighting child custody battles for their own children. Basic legal principles hold that a parent’s rights may not be terminated unless they have abused, neglected or willfully abandoned their kids. However, many undocumented immigrants are being held to a much lower standard because of their undocumented status.

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