Washington State Court Of Appeals Rules Deported Father Can’t Be Denied Custody Of Son


An appeals court has ruled that a man who has been deported from the U.S. cannot be denied custody of his son after meeting all criteria by child welfare agents.

The father in the case has been deported from the U.S. three times and is now not allowed to return to the country for 20 years, according to The Spokesman-Review.

When the unnamed man went to see his son in October of 2011, he was arrested by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and deported for a third time within the 20-year ban. The man stayed in contact with his son, who is now 8 years old, and sought to bring him to Mexico, but DSHS filed a motion to appoint the boy’s grandparents as his legal guardians.

The Spokesman-Review also reports that Court Commissioner Bart Vandegrift denied the father custody and assigned guardianship to the boy’s grandparents who had cared for him since July of 2010. The Court of Appeals ruling vacates the grandparents’ guardianship, but the child remains a ward of the state until his dependency case is resolved in the Chelan County courts.

DSHS argued that even though the father had performed well in required drug treatment programs, had a stable family life in Mexico and was well bonded with the child, reunification in Mexico would take too long. However, an appeals court judge ruled that the DSHS and Vandegrift misread the “near future” provision of the law.

“In other words, the fact that the child cannot be returned in the near future is irrelevant unless the parent has an outstanding deficiency that is preventing the return,” Appellate Court Judge Teresa Kulik wrote.

USA Today reports that according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a record 409,849 people were deported in 2012.

One woman who managed to not be added to the total is Michigan mother Cile Precetaj. She came into the United States illegally in 2000 and since married and has three U.S- born children. Her case for political asylum was rejected and she was initially given just 24 hours notice that she would have to leave the country. However, she defied the order to go and stayed home and on Friday was told that she can stay for at least another year.

Sources:  The Spokesman-Review, USA Today


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