In 2007, a mother in Missouri who was in the U.S. illegally was working another shift at her poultry plant, putting in the hours to provide for her 7-month-old son. As she worked, local authorities raided the plant and discovered her undocumented status. She was detained and lost parental rights to her son, who was then legally adopted by another family. She appealed the move which made it all the way to the state's Supreme Court, which called the situation a "tragedy of justice" as they overturned the adoption.
Family immigration cases like this are becoming more prevalent in the U.S., and this one in particular highlights the proposed California law (SB 1064) we discussed in our last post.
The local impact of SB 1064 is tremendous, especially here in Los Angeles where the topic of immigration is central to the city's culture. Ultimately, SB 1064 is a law that tackles the rights of illegal immigrants; but it is much more than that.
Losing parental rights to your own child crosses ethnic, religious and class lines -- it is a human issue. And SB 1064 looks to grant people a fair, legitimate and humane process for retaining their parental rights in mitigating circumstances.
Nationally, the impact of SB 1064 could be even greater. The proposed law would be the first of its kind in the U.S. if it is enacted. That process is underway, but in the meantime, there are many families out there who are in the country illegally, just like the woman in Missouri. They deserve a chance to keep their family together, and if that time comes, they should be well represented in an immigration court.
Source: Multi-American, "In California, an attempt to keep some deportees' children out of foster care," Leslie Berestein Rojas, Mar. 28, 2012