Good news for four-year-old Angela!

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Screen shot from KDVR report

Good news update! After four-year-old Angela Becerra’s case got nationwide attention, USCIS backed down. After initially denying her U.S. adoptive parents’ petition for citizenship for Angela, USCIS now says it will reconsider.  

Meanwhile, more than 500 other children remain separated from their families, with no clear timeline or plan for reunification. 

Some of the separated children have been given a choice between facing danger and possible death back in their home countries or never seeing their parents again. That’s the impossibly difficult choice faced by children whose volunteer attorneys talked to the Huffington Post:

“One of her cases involved a seven-year-old with cerebral palsy who was separated from her father at the border and could barely speak. She answered Silverstein’s questions―”Do you want to stay here? Do you want to go home to Guatemala?”―by shaking her head “yes” or “no.”

“If she had some kind of immigration relief [case] there would be no way to get that info from her,” Silverstein said, adding that the child is now reunited with her father in Guatemala. “By separating them, they really destroyed any chance she would have had of getting any legal remedy.”

Two grown-up immigrants, now U.S. citizens, tell their stories and insist that the administration must reunite these children with their families and “provide the full range of supports and services families need once they are reunited.” It is, they say, a matter of basic American family values.

American family values do not apply to U.S. citizens whose non-citizen children want to visit them. After years of traveling back and forth from her own home in Mexico to visit her aging mother and stepfather in Maryland, Michelle Nicoll Gutierrez was turned around by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at George Bush Intercontinental Airport this month. They revoked her visitor visa and barred her from the United States for five years, in a move that George Bush would probably find outrageous.

In another defense of American values, more than 120 immigration law professors sent a letter to Attorney General Sessions decrying the use of quotas for immigration judges. Their letter is similar to one previously sent by a group of former immigration and Bureau of Immigration Appeals judges. The immigration law professors’ letter reads, in part:

“We write to express our alarm about the Department of Justice’s new performance metrics for immigration judges. We believe the Department’s performance metrics are unacceptable and fear they are a part of larger goal to undermine the independence of the immigration courts….

“The concept of fair process in implementing the rule of law is one of the most fundamental American principles. It is a pillar of meaningful democracy. The idea that the government should not deprive any person of life, liberty or property without first providing fair process is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. The repercussions of a lack of fair procedure can be devastating….

“Immigration law is extremely harsh and complex, and the consequences of the decisions of immigration judges are weighty. These decisions should not be made too quickly.“

An article in the Texas Tribune describesthe near-absolute power that the nation’s top law enforcement officer has over what is ostensibly an impartial judicial system. “ The article goes on:

“If immigration courts were a baseball game, the Trump administration would coach one team, serve as league commissioner and reserve the right to overrule the umpires. The other team would often have to play without a coach.”

About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet,, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
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