“Girl with no country “

Unusual case leaves Allentown teen in immigration limbo for 14 years

From The Morning Call:

Fifteen-year-old Allie Mulvihill has a mom, a dad, a sister, two yappy
dogs, and a home in West Allentown. But she has no country.

The Central Catholic freshman’s quest for American citizenship has been
stymied since she was adopted from Guatemala by Lori and Scott
Mulvihill 14 years ago.

At the core of their struggle is the question of whether, unknown to
the Mulvihills, Allie might have been stolen from her biological family
and given up for adoption by a woman posing as her birth mother in a
baby-trafficking scheme.

At the heart of it are the hopes and dreams of a teenager with no
citizenship or green card, who can’t get a driver’s license when she
turns 16 in two months and can’t work legally or travel abroad. Unless
her case gets resolved, she won’t be eligible for financial aid when
she goes to college and won’t be allowed to vote when she turns 18.

This is a big deal to me – and lately seems to be everywhere in my life. On some of my list-serves, there is talk about adult adoptees in their 20s, 30s and 40s whose adoptive parents never completed their naturalization and so they are now concerned about being deported to a country where they have no family, no language and no resources. At work I am dealing with a South East Asian teenager who was adopted and the adoptive parents did not naturalize her. The child is no longer living with her adoptive family, but is in the care of a guardian and the citizenship issue came up when the teenager tried to get a summer job.

Why on earth there are any international adoptees – whether adult or still children – who are in this position is beyond my comprehension. Sometimes it’s the adoptive parent’s fault – but in this story it’s squarely the US and Guatemalan government’s fault.

You can read the entire article here.

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

3 thoughts

  1. Why does the US immigration office feel that they can fix the situation by denying her citizenship? They allowed her to come to the country 14 years ago. The way I see it, the problem is theirs. The damage to the child and her possible first mother has been done. It can not be rectified by any action of the Immigration officials.

  2. Did the adoptive parents attempt to get her naturalized but because of the unknown status of her possibly being illegally adopted it was held back? For us our agency would have done 6 month homestudy updates until I received the COC and readoption information. The homestudies would have been a cost to me so it was in my financial best interest to get that done and in Glenys’ future best interest to get it done (which was more important).

  3. It is a lot better then it used to be. I still remember a 16 year old child who was deported from the US to Thailand after stealing a car. He was adopted from Thailand and had never been naturalized. He only spoke English. This happened some time between 1997 and 2000.
    Child Citizenship Act was passed in 2000. And it protects the vast majority of internationally adopted children by granting them automatic citizenship. And of course there are exceptions (like the news story talks about).
    And the cases in the news article…. the parents just have to readopt the 2 children. And they will be safe from deportation. It doesn’t matter that immigration doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t matter that immigration isn’t humane. You have to follow their rules.

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