Much has been written and said about the new Arizona Law pertaining to immigrants (it pertains to everyone actually, and certainly is not limited to undocumented immigrants). From Eugene Robinson and Richard Cohen at the Washington Post, to John Stewart on The Daily Show, and even Tom Tancredo, everyone is up in arms about this law. We have heard from Megan McCain (John McCain’s daughter), President Obama, and even from Governor Jan “Show Me Your Papers” Brewer, all opine about the law and WHY the Arizona Legislature had to act on “illegal” immigration.
One of my favorite movie lines is from “The Princess Bride.” Vizzini, the mastermind behind the kidnapping of Princess Buttercup, upon seeing the Man in Black pursuing them keeps repeating the word “inconceivable.” Finally, Inigo Montoya, one of of Vizzini’s then assistants says: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
This program . . . “discusses a recent court decision affirming that local law enforcement officers may question suspected illegal aliens encounter [sic] about their immigration status and then contact immigration authorities (ICE). Known as Estrada v. Rhode Island, this important decision should reassure local officers that they are not obligated to look the other way when they discover immigration law violations and provide guidance on reasonable actions officers may take in questioning foreign nationals.”
In the totality of the circumstances, we cannot say that a reasonable officer in Officer Chabot’s position would have understood that his conduct violated Tamup’s constitutional right.
Yesterday the USCIS released its FY 2009 immigrant visa numbers. More than a million people legally immigrated to the United States in FY 2009. Almost 60% of those folks did so through the adjustment of status process, meaning they were already in the U.S. when their place in line was reached. While not disclosed by USCIS, the supposition is that a number of those folks were actually out of status or, even undocumented, and were able to adjust status using INA 245(i), the penalty law still available to anyone who was a direct or derivative beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition or labor certification filed before April 30, 2001.
The case of a 7-year-old Russian boy who was returned to Moscow by his adoptive U.S. mother has highlighted the challenges families face when an international adoption goes wrong.
For those of you that don’t know, an American woman, Tori Hansen, adopted a little boy in Russia. He had been removed from his alcoholic biological mother’s care a few years ago and put in an institution. He came to the United States, resided in the home of Ms. Hansen as her adopted son for several months and then last week, she put him on a plane back to Russia with a note pinned inside his jacket that read “I no longer wish to parent this child.” Apparently the child had emotional difficulties, was violent and difficult to control. That Hansen wasn’t aware of his potential problems prior to the adoption is hard to believe. A quick internet search of “Russia” and “older children” and “adoption” yields a host of potential challenges, including attachment disorders, behavioral problems and psychological issues. What is she trying to say? They don’t have google in Tennessee?
The problem is that you can’t put your adopted child back on a plane and send them off to a foreign country just like you can’t put your biological child on a plane and send him off the a foreign country with a note pinned to his jacket stating that you no longer wish to parent. This little boy was the subject of a full and final adoption decree in Russia. That means that as soon as he entered the United States, he became a US citizen. He has the same rights and privileges as any other American child. And his “mom” has the same obligations as if she had given birth to him. Nobody’s suggesting that she struggle along for years with a child that she cannot handle but there were resources available to her. She could have sought counseling for herself and the little boy, taken a parenting class, gotten to the bottom of his issues, or placed him for adoption with another family. The only things she couldn’t do was drive him out of town and drop him off on the side of the road or put him on a plane back to Russia or otherwise dispose of him.
There’s a lot of talk about criminal charges- abandonment, neglect etc. I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned the fact that the Russian authorities could also come after her for child support until this little boy reaches 18 (or 21 if he goes to college.) I’ve also heard that the Russian authorities are considering halting all adoptions by American citizens. I’m not sure that this is going to happen. 12 Russian children have been murdered by their US adoptive parents over the past 10 years and 3 others that I can think of were adopted by pedophiles and if that didn’t do it, I don’t know that this will either. I would definitely expect a slow down in the process. It would be really unfortunate if this turned out to be the last straw- according to the State Department 1,600 orphans were adopted by US families last year and the vast majority of those adoptions were successful. A U.S. government delegation will arrive in Moscow next week to discuss rules for American parents who want to adopt Russian children. I think everything will be ironed out. After all, Russia wants its orphans to find families. Expect further updates from the State Department.