Many immigrants to the United States, including many in the Miami area, came here as children or infants. Some were brought by their parents, and some were adopted from overseas by U.S. couples. These children have attended American schools, made friends in America, grown up in America and started careers here. Many of them have no memory at all of their original homelands. Any some of them may be unaware that they are not U.S. citizens.
Under current U.S. immigration law, a situation like this has the potential to become tragic. Such a tragedy is playing out right now in the case of a 41-year-old man who has lived in the United States since his Korean mother put him up for adoption at age three. He was adopted by a U.S. couple who abused and abandoned him. When he tried to break into the home of his adoptive parents to take some of his belongings, he was arrested and convicted of burglary. Later in life he was convicted of assault and unlawful possession of a gun.
The man is now being held in an immigration detention center, awaiting deportation to Korea. He is married and has a child and two stepchildren in the U.S. In October, an immigration judge turned down his last request to be allowed to stay in the U.S.
Immigrants who came here as children and wish to remain in the U.S. need first to find out exactly what their legal status is. If they are not yet citizens and wish to become naturalized, they need to know how to begin the process. If they are concerned that a past brush with the law may put their legal status in jeopardy or present an obstacle to citizenship, they need to know their options. An immigration attorney can provide advice on all of these issues.
Source: New York Times, "Korean Mother Awaits a Son's Deportation to Confess Her 'Unforgivable Sin,'" Choe Sang-Hun, Nov. 16, 2016