The story of an illegal immigrant’s child custody case is one that addresses the national problem of the adoption of illegal immigrant children. The state Supreme Court of Missouri recently heard a case to determine the issue of whether a child of an illegal immigrant in the United States can be adopted while the parent is serving a term in jail. In other words, can an illegal immigrant’s child custody rights be terminated while in prison? In this post we will discuss the facts that led up to the child custody dispute, and in our next post we will discuss the arguments that were heard by the state Supreme Court this week. Any future ruling by the state Supreme Court of Missouri will only affect Missouri law.
The story of the mother and child at issue begins in May 2007. The mother of the then 7-month-old boy was arrested during an immigration raid on a poultry plant in Missouri. After the mother was captured, the family of the boy asked a local clergy family to care for the infant. The clergy family cared for the boy and later contacted a couple who was interested in adopting a child.
In October 2007, the boy’s mother pled guilty to aggravated identify theft, and that same month the family that sought to adopt a child filed papers to adopt the young boy. The young boy’s mother was fluent only in Spanish, and the legal papers for the adoption were written in English only. The court granted custody to the adoptive family two days after the documents were filed. In our next post, we will discuss the legal maneuvers that took the case to the state Supreme Court, and we will discuss the arguments heard by the court.
Source: Columbia Missourian, “Missouri Supreme Court Hears Illegal Immigrant Child Custody Case,” Alysha Love, 11/9/10