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Immigration snafu may cost state a million

A one-in-a-million mistake by employees of the state department of human services may cost the state $1 million in restitution. In a family immigration nightmare, a 21-year-old Mexico-born woman who was officially adopted by an American couple when she was 8 years of age was assured that she became a U.S. citizen at the time of her adoption. It wasn't true.

Unfortunately, the woman did not learn of her non-citizen status until she went with her parents to get her driver's permit. Her social security card had to be updated with her adoptive name, not her birth name, but she did not have the necessary proof of citizenship. Through the course of events, she was told she was not, in fact, a U.S. citizen.

She came to be in the custody of state workers when she was 4 years old. Her parents had smuggled her into the country and child welfare workers took her because they feared she was being beaten by her birth parents. She was placed in the foster care of an American couple who officially adopted her three years later.

Because of one false piece of information, the woman has lived with the threat of being deported and facing a 10-year ban before she could apply for residency. She cannot work, drive a car or apply for financial aid so she can go to college. She has been granted a temporary "U visa" that is only awarded to a very small number of people who have been victims of a crime. (In her case, the crime was child abuse.)

Her home state department of justice says it will not fight the court's decision in the $1 million family immigration lawsuit. To learn more about this area of law, please visit our Staten Island, New York, immigration law website.

Source:, "Case in adoption-immigration snafu to proceed," Aug. 19, 2012

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