Monday, March 21, 2011

ICE refuses a 4-year-old US citizen unrestricted re-entry to US

ICE refuses a 4-year-old US citizen unrestricted re-entry to US
New York City : NY : USA | Mar 18, 2011
By BorderExplorer e

In an unexpected turn of events, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents refused to allow a 4-year-old girl who was born in the U.S. to return to the country after her visit to Guatemala.

Emily Samantha Ruiz and her grandfather visited relatives in Guatemala, according to the law office of David Sperling. At the end of their stay, the two boarded a plane to return to New York. The grandfather could travel back and forth between his native Guatemala and the U.S. because he has, or rather, had a work visa, reports the blog Latina Lista.

The plane was diverted from New York to Washington D.C. where immigration officials found that the grandfather had on his record an illegal entry that dated from the 1990's. Officials immediately took him into custody for deportation to Guatemala, leaving Emily unaccompanied.

Meanwhile, Emily's parents in New York telephoned authorities in a frantic effort to seek information on her well being. Eventually an airline representative informed Emily's father that immigration officials had detained his daughter and her grandfather in the Capital.

They then immediately telephoned ICE. The father responded honestly to the agent's inquiry about his immigration status and that of Emily's mother. Because both parents are undocumented, the agent stated that they must either leave Emily in a children's detention center in Virginia or send her back with her grandfather to Guatemala.

The father chose to send her back with her grandfather.

ICE has not explained the determination of this case. New York Immigration attorney David Sperling has offered to fly to Guatemala on March 28 to return Emily to her parents, according to Latina Lista.

Immigration activists question the procedure of the federal government in this case. Three questions posed in light of the incident are:

* Should a U.S. citizen be denied entrance to the country due to the citizenship status of her parents?
* What would prompt such a deviation from standard procedure?
* Is this procedural innovation endorsed by the Obama administration?

The news report of this incident is raising eyebrows in the Latino community. Some Latinos, already sensitive to racial profiling, wonder if the outcome of the incident would be different if the child were not Latina, a question posted on the blog Cuéntame.

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