Entries in Immigrant (2)


Immigrant Mom Loses Effort to Regain Son Given to US Adoptive Parents

Encarnacion Bail Romero cries after learning she won't regain custody of her child she knew as Carlos. (ABC News)(CARTHAGE, Mo.) -- In a controversial case that involved the rights of illegal immigrants and their young children, a Guatemalan mother lost her effort Wednesday to get back the five-year old son who was taken away from her after her arrest on immigration charges and put up for adoption in Missouri despite her objections.

A Missouri judge ruled the boy should stay with the Missouri couple, Melinda and Seth Moser, who took him into their home five years ago while his mother was in federal custody, where she attempted in vain to oppose the adoption proceedings.

"Nobody could help me because I don't speak English," said Encarnacion Bail Romero in an interview with ABC News.

The child, born as Carlos but renamed Jamison by the Mosers, has been with his adoptive parents in Carthage, Missouri since the age of 11 months.

The judge said the biological mother had no rights to even see her child, according to the mother's lawyer.

Asked if the Mosers would allow Bail Romero to see the child, the Mosers' attorney, Joseph Hensley, said the couple was "not willing to comment on that at this time."

"We're extremely happy about the decision," said Hensley, who also noted that the decision, "really puts the biological mom in a difficult decision in terms of staying in this country."

The ruling Wednesday reaffirmed the original decision by another Missouri judge who terminated the parental rights of Bail Romero, stating that, "illegally smuggling herself into the country is not a lifestyle that can provide any stability for the child."

The Missouri Supreme Court called the initial decision a "travesty of justice" and ordered a review of the case by a second judge.

Appearing outside the courtroom with tears in her eyes, the biological mother declined to comment. Her lawyer, Curtis Woods, said he would appeal the decision of the judge who he said ruled Encarnacion Bail Romero's parental rights had been terminated because she had abandoned him while she was incarcerated.

"I am very disappointed in the decision," said Woods.

The judge handed down the decision in a courtroom closed to all but the parties involved and their lawyers. There was no translator provided by the court Wednesday for the Guatemalan woman, who speaks only a little English.

The ruling allows the formal adoption proceedings by the Mosers to proceed.

The Mosers left the court without speaking to reporters, but they had previously argued in court that they could best provide for the boy and that they were the only parents that he knew.

"I could not love him more, had he come out of me physically," Melinda Moser said in an earlier interview.

The biological mother was arrested in 2007 on an immigration raid at a chicken processing plant in Missouri and has not seen her son since.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Chinese Man Charged Over Phony Army Unit, Swindling Immigrant Recruits

George Doyle/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- A Chinese national who prosecutors say called himself "Supreme Commander" of a phony Army reserve unit will be arraigned Wednesday in California on charges of swindling thousands of dollars from more than 100 aspiring U.S. citizens he recruited to his group.

The scam is highly unusual for its use of fraudulent military operations to target and profit from immigrants seeking a path to citizenship, according to immigration experts.

Yupeng "David" Deng rented an office space in Temple City, Calif., decorated it to resemble an official military recruiting center and promised dozens of Chinese nationals that joining the so-called U.S. Army/Military Special Forces Reserve Unit would lead to citizenship, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Deng, 51, allegedly charged recruits $300 to $450 initiation fees and collected $120 in membership dues each year after forming the group in October 2008.

Officials allege that recruits received bogus U.S. Army uniforms, enlistment documents and military ID cards. The men even appeared together in public dressed in uniform, marching in a local parade and touring the USS Midway museum in San Diego, prosecutors say.

A spokeswoman for the District Attorney's office declined to discuss the total amount of money Deng allegedly stole from the men or the apparent authenticity of the documentation he allegedly produced. She also declined to comment on the alleged victims' immigration status or whether their testimony is part of the investigation.

But immigrant advocates say the case likely involves vulnerable undocumented immigrants desperately looking for ways remain legally in the United States.

"For a lot of people, especially if they've come from countries where you do pay to get things from the government, they think these sort of arrangements are normal," said Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. "The victims in this case likely believed they really were in the military and on the way to becoming citizens because of a lack of cultural understanding."

Hincapie said she hopes prosecutors will extend temporary legal status to the victims in exchange for their testimony.

"It's hard to prosecute cases like this because people are afraid to come forward and speak out against a person seen as revered in the community and risk being deported," she said. "I seriously hope the government is going to use the victims as material witnesses in this case as this guy could get off without their testimony."

Deng, who was arrested Tuesday by FBI and Defense Department investigators, faces up to eight years in prison, if convicted, for 13 counts of theft by false pretenses, manufacturing deceptive government documents and counterfeit of an official government seal.

Investigators discovered Deng's alleged scam after several fraudulent IDs surfaced in separate traffic stops and at some military facilities where the alleged victims presented them for renewal, an FBI spokeswoman said.

Deng is also charged with possessing child pornography after a search of his home computer turned up the illicit material. He will be arraigned in that case on April 18.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio