A 6-year-old girl is to be torn away from the only parents she has ever known, her foster parents, by the state because of her ethnicity.
According to the Indian Child Welfare Act that was passed as federal law in the 1970s -- which seeks to keep American Indian children with American Indian families -- Lexi must now leave her Santa Clarita, California, parents Rusty and Summer Page to live with her Native American parents, Fox 11 reports. Lexi has only 1.5 percent Native American blood, and her biological parents have been out of her life since she was around 2 years old.
Now, the Pages are fighting to keep Lexi with them.
“Lexi doesn’t know another home," Rusty told Fox 11. "She finally knows what mom and dad means and they want to take that away from her. We can’t stand idly by while that happens.”
Although the family has taken the case to court, their most recent emergency stay was lifted on March 18.
Lexi was scheduled to be removed by the Department of Children and Family Services on March 20, although authorities postponed the removal date after a large group of protesters took a stand against her removal. The protesters crowded the Pages' neighborhood and stayed overnight, ABC 7 reports.
The Choctaw tribe made a decision to place Lexi with non-blood relatives in Utah, both of whom are not Native American and don’t live on a reservation. In a statement, the tribe said it wants what’s best for Lexi.
“The tribe’s values of faith, family and culture are what makes our tribal identity so important to use,” the tribe wrote, according to ABC 7. “Therefore we will continue to work to maintain these values and work toward the long-term best interest of this child.”
The Pages noted that they aren’t sure when Child and Family Services will next attempt to remove Lexi, although they suspect the agency wants to do it without the public and media watching.
A petition on Change.org has since been started to keep Lexi with her foster family. More than 32,000 people have signed the petition as of March 21.