I am intrigued by this case of a 24-year-old adopted by a U.S. citizen who may be deported. Apparently, the adoption was not legal or something went wrong in the process. The 24-year-old was arrested after a DUI incident and discovered through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that he had no immigration status. The man’s mother believed that her father had legally adopted him in the Philippines. I wonder what went wrong. I don’t know the facts of this particular case. Intercountry adoption is also complicated, especially since the U.S. ratified the Hague Convention in April 2008.
Sadly, this brings to mind people trying to “help” a Philippine adoption take place through some kind of shortcut. You know, the whole, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” expression. For example, I have heard of cases from the Philippines where, instead of adopting, families were “helped” by well-meaning, but ill-informed people by having them obtain “simulated” birth certificates rather than going through the legal adoption process. Simulated birth certificates involve issuing new birth certificates and listing the adoptive mother as the birth mother. Although the Philippines does have legal adoption available, it is my understanding that adoption was not a common practice (I’m not sure if this is the case now), and people would resort to more informal methods, including simulating birth certificates. Legal adoption can also be expensive. One woman that I spoke with was orphaned, and the town, including the mayor, “helped” by getting a simulated birth certificate issued to the woman’s adoptive mother. This was in the 1950s. At the time, it probably saved her life. However, now, she is unable to immigrate to the U.S. through her mother because there is no legal parent/child relationship. Additionally, I have heard of people submitting the simulated birth certificate to the U.S. Embassy in Manila when applying for an immigrant visa for the “adopted” child. If discovered, the adoptive parent(s) may then be charged with fraud or alien smuggling.
I don’t know what happened to this family and whether the problem happened in the Philippines or after the boy had already been brought to the U.S. I’m also not accusing them of taking any shortcuts. Again, this news item just reminded me about an issue in the Philippine community. I decided to blog about it to hopefully prevent people from trying to take a shortcut or making a misrepresentation that can affect them and their children in the future. I also hope that the Department of Homeland Security will not remove this man from the U.S. and break up his family. Their angst and hardship they will face is palpable from the video.
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