It truly doesn’t get worse than this:
On Wednesday a Missouri juvenile court judge terminated a Guatemalan woman’s rights to her 5-year-son because they believe she abandoned her child when she was imprisoned after a 2007 immigration sting at a poultry processing plant.
Encarnacion Romero, the mother of the child, cried as she was leaving the courtroom, according to the Joplin Globe. Romero’s attorney say they will appeal the decision.
The case garnered National attention when ABC’s “Nightline” covered the story in February 2012.
“This is a sad and outrageous outcome in this case, intolerable really,” said Rinku Sen, president and executive director of the Applied Research Center (ARC) and publisher of Colorlines.com. “All of our systems need to change the way they deal with children and parents affected by deportation, including the family courts.”
The 62-page ruling terminated Encarnacion’s rights on the basis of “abandonment, neglect and parental unfitness.” 5-year old Carlitos will proceed with being fully adopted by a couple who have been caring for him (they call him Jamison). The couple’s laywer, Joe Hensley said: “None of the grounds were about her being an illegal alien. We’re extremely pleased with the judgment because it was a vindication not only for the Mosers, but for everyone involved that was trying to do right by a child that had been neglected.” The power of denial (oh yeah, and racism) is astounding, isn’t it?
According to a Colorlines report, there are at least 5,100 kids in the U.S. foster care system right now due to their parents being detained or deported. In the meantime, Colorlines also points to legislation to keep an eye out for, the “Help Separated Families Act of 2012” introduced by Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34) earlier this month, which would help avoid tragedies like the Romero family’s. We’ll keep you posted on its development.