Monday, September 14, 2009

Can You Prove You're a Citizen?...

Cracks in citizenship process result in man's deportation to a country he's never known
September 12, 2009

"Lora Whiteley adopted the child she would eventually name Robin on Jan. 14, 1974, from an El Paso-based midwife who had delivered him a day before.
While state adoption records listed his birthplace as Ciudad Juarez — across the Rio Grande from the West Texas city — Lora claims the government based that determination on her own statements rather than any outside knowledge.
'If a midwife delivered the baby, I had just assumed that meant it was born in Mexico,' she said. 'I could have assumed wrong.'
To this date, she has no idea exactly where or to whom her adopted son was born.
The family — then living in Fort Worth — first attempted to file for Robin Whiteley’s citizenship in 1987 but found the system complicated and cumbersome. Immigration authorities would advise them to file one form, only to turn around and tell them that it was the wrong one and they needed to fill out another.
Because of their modest means, hiring an attorney to guide them through the process was out of the question.
'We tried to do what we could,' Robin Whiteley said. 'But every time my mom would do something, they would turn around and tell her to do something else.' So when President Ronald Reagan’s administration implemented an amnesty program for illegal immigrants in the late ‘80s, they decided that route might provide an easier path.
'I got my green card and legal residency,' Robin Whiteley said. 'After that, nothing was ever said about it. I went through life and grew up just like anybody else.'
It wasn’t until his arrest for marijuana possession in 2000 outside of Lufkin that the issue reared its head again. Two months into his prison stint, the government told him his visa had been revoked and he would be deported upon his release.
Less than two years later, he was on a bus to the border — headed back to a birthplace he had only known on paper.
'I had always thought of myself as a U.S. citizen,' he said. 'I just didn’t realize they could just take away your stuff like that.'

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