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Will 3-year-old have to leave the country under US immigration law?

Obviously, there have been many stories in the media recently discussing immigration reform in the United States. However, few stories seem to look at the process of immigration. How do immigrants enter America-and why? It seems, at times, that the public debate misses part of the whole story. Not long ago, this blog discussed the plight of a teen who did not want to leave the country in which she grew up.

That case involved a woman who was brought to the U.S. on her parent's E-2 visas. She sought every avenue to obtain her own visa for years, but knew that legally she would have to leave the country on her 21st birthday--leaving her family and country behind.

E-2 investment visas allow parents to bring their children, but a child's legal status dissolves upon the child's 21st birthday. She obtained a reprieve in August, but business and employment based visa programs are not the only programs that can cause strife for a family.

Take for instance the story from Florida's neighboring state about a grandmother and her grandchild.

The woman's daughter was murdered in Italy this past spring-her fiancé is accused of that murder. The murder victim had a 2-year-old child, who was placed into the custody of her grandmother. The woman took in her grandchild in Georgia, where the grandmother lives. She has her own green card, but the child entered the United States on a tourist visa.

Immigration officials say that the 2-year-old will have to leave the country to satisfy U.S. family immigration requirements. The grandmother and her granddaughter would be allowed to return to the U.S.-at some point. But in the meantime, the grandmother worries about the child's safety in her home country under the circumstances.

It is not clear if the grandmother has sought legal counsel for assistance in seeking a possible resolution or waiver. The child will turn three Saturday. She will spend the birthday in the safety of her grandmother's care, but it will be her first celebration without her mother.

Source: CBS Atlanta, "Family dealing with tragedy in middle of immigration nightmare," Katie Brace, Dec. 13, 2012

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