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4-year-old deported, suffers PTSD because of immigration official

The subject of immigration sadly tends to bring disturbing stories and depressing tales to the table. Confusing policies and negligent customs officials create this sort of stigma. However, the following story is one of the most disturbing and shocking immigration stories we have ever heard.

A federal judge believes the United State government could be held liable for how immigration officials handled a 4-year-old girl whose grandfather was stopped at an airport checkpoint. She was traveling with her grandfather to Guatemala. She is a U.S. citizen, but her grandfather apparently had issues with his papers.

What ensued is shocking: the girl was held at the airport for 14 hours in a cold holding cell, and received nothing to eat or drink but one cookie and one soda. Her grandfather suffered a medical emergency and had to go to the hospital. Finally, after 14 hours, immigration officials made their first attempt to contact the girl's parents. An immigration official threatened the girl's father by saying she would be given to an adoption agency if he didn't permit them to send her back to Guatemala because the father is an undocumented immigrant.

As if all of this isn't shocking enough, the girl actually was deported back to Guatemala with her grandfather because her father felt it was the only option. He was put in a terrible situation. Many weeks later, she was returned to the U.S. However, she was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder, fearing anyone who came to the door and refusing to let go of her father's hand when they left the house.

It's another sad and unfortunate reminder that immigration officials aren't always outstanding citizens who respect people. Those who are victimized by such officials -- or by false policies -- need to consult an experienced immigration attorney to ensure their rights are being upheld.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Uncle Sam Blasted Over Child's Deportation," Lorraine Bailey, Sept. 23, 2014

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  • State Bar of California | California Board of Legal Specialization
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