Deportation cases

This list presents cases of adoptees who have been deported or face deportation, because of criminal convictions. These adoptees never received US citizenship and therefore the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, applies to them.

To make this list as complete as possible we can use your help. If you know of cases not covered, or know of articles not listed with the cases, please subscribe to this groups and help maintain this section of the website or send links and articles to this mail address.

Aaron Billings

Lowell and Bonnie Billings adopted Aaron from Korea when he was 3 years old. At that time, a misprinted birth certificate sent from the adoption agency led them to believe that Aaron’s alien status had been changed to that of a U.S. citizen, and so they never pursued the naturalization process for him as adoptive parents are required to do. But in April 2001, Aaron was picked up for selling marijuana, and the INS identified him as an illegal alien. Because of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, which imposed harsh regulations on non-citizens who commit crimes, even misdemeanors, Billings ended up detained in San Diego and facing deportation.

After a two-year campaign of legal appeals, letters from prominent community members, coupled with the Korean Consulate's hesitation to issue papers, Billings was suddenly released without explanation recently. He is still under "order of supervision" which leaves him vulnerable to being deported

Agency: Children's Home Society (California or Minn?)

Status: Unknown, believed to be in USA under "order of supervision"

Home state: California

Country of origin: Republic of Korea (South Korea)

Status:

Adam Carrigan

20 year old Adam Carrigan faced deportation

Status: Unknown, believed to be in the USA

Home state: Minnesota

Country of origin: Colombia

Status:

Alejandro Ebron

Alejandro Ebron was adopted from a family in Yokohama, Japan, by a Navy sailor and brought to the United States in 1959, when he was a year old. His adoptive parents filed citizenship papers for him and were granted a hearing in 1961. The day of the hearing, his father was at sea, so he and his mother went on their own. According to his court case, his mother was informed that her husband needed to be present, information that Ebron's attorney says was incorrect. Ebron's naturalization fell through the cracks after that. His father spent several years in Vietnam, and by the time he returned in 1970, Ebron's mother was seriously ill. But because his paperwork was filed, there was a chance Ebron could be considered a national of the United States, even if he isn't a citizen.

Status: Deported

Home state: California

Country of origin: Japan

Status:

Blanca Catt

Blanca Catt was born in Mexico and smuggled into the U.S. as a toddler. She was seized from abusive parents by the state of Oregon and placed into foster care with the Catts when she was 5 years old. The Catts adopted her three years later. Crucial paperwork has never been filed to make her a legal resident, which makes her face deportation.

It is believed that Blanca was granted a U Non-Immigrant Visa in late 2010. It is unclear whether she has been given permanent residence or citizenship yet, which could take 8 years or more after the U Visa

Status: Temporary U non-immigrant visa

Home state: Oregon

Country of origin: Mexico

Status:

Bradley Zazueta

24-year-old man adopted from Mexico at 11 month by an Arizona couple in 1985 was arrested for stealing and subsequently violated probabtion. Because of some mistakes in his paperwork Immigrations and Customs Enforcement seek to deport him.

Status: Unknown

Home state: Arizona

Country of origin: Mexico

Status:

Christopher Clancy

Walter and Jean Clancy adopted Christopher in 1982 from Mexico.

Jean Clancy claims she took Christopher to the INS office in 1986 to fill out the paperwork making him a U.S. citizen. While completing the form, she says, a supervisor told them that Christopher was already a citizen.

Jean Clancy says the paperwork she had already filled out was kept at the office. The INS says it has no evidence of the visit.

In 2000 Christopher was convicted on three burglary charges and sentenced to five years.

The INS decided Christopher Clancy is not a U.S. citizen. So after he did his time, he was transferred to a federal detention center to await deportation.

Status: Unknown

Home state: Texas

Country of origin: Mexico

Status:

Dan Heiskala

Daniel Heiskala was born in South Korea and adopted by a U.S. couple, joining their three biological children. According to his parents, he came to the United States as “a half-starved five-year-old boy.” The family lived on a farm in Michigan, and then later moved to North Carolina and eventually to Texas, where Heiskala attended West Lake Christian High School. He speaks no Korean and has had no contact with anyone in Korea since his adoption. In 1994, when Heiskala was in his early twenties, he was convicted of stealing a car and sentenced to seven to ten years in prison. He was paroled out after serving slightly more than two years, and has had no further convictions since that time. In 2003, he was put in deportation proceedings on the basis of the 1994 conviction. Because he was convicted after a trial rather than on a guilty plea, the government has taken the position that he is ineligible for discretionary relief even though his conviction predates the 1996 amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act.33. His case is currently on appeal. This is believed to be the citation: Choo Doc Kim v. Alberto Gonzales, No. 05-2485 (1st Circuit)

Status : Unknown, but believed to be in US

Home state: Michigan

Country of origin: Republic of Korea (South Korea)

Status:

Ernesto Schwartz

Ernesto Schwartz
Panama-born Ernesto Schwartz, 35, was adopted by an American citizen when he was a young boy. He could have become a citizen, but his parents never took the necessary steps. They mistakenly waited for years to fill out the paperwork, and after Schwartz turned 18, it was too late. Then, two felony drug convictions and a change in immigration laws made Schwartz deportable. Authorities began proceedings to have Schwartz deported after he went to them to straighten out his situation. He left behind a wife and 5 year old son.

Status: Deported

Home state: Florida

Country of origin: Panama

Status:

Fatima Desrosiers aka Tina Desrosiers


Fatima Desrosiers was brought to Toronto at age 12 from a Brazilian orphanage. She was placed into custody of Children's Aid after running from her home when her potential adoptive mother threatened her with a knife shortly after placement. Though she was a ward of the Crown, no one obtained permanent residency or citizenship for her. She has 5 children. At age 34 she faced deportation, and was ultimately deported to Brazil.

See also http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/34463

Status: Deported

Home state:

Country of origin: Brazil

Status:

Jennifer Haynes - deportation case

Jennifer Edgell Haynes was born in India in 1981. At age 8 she was moved to America by her adopter Edward Hancox, who sexually abused her. She moved through almost 50 foster home. Since her naturalization never took place, she was deported in July 2008 when she had a minor incident with the law.

Placement agency:  Americans for International Aid and Adoption (AIAA)

Status: Deported

Home state: Michigan

Country of origin: India

Status:

Jess Mustanich

Jess Mustanich was adopted from a convent in El Salvador when he was six months old by a couple from the United States.They adopted him under Salvadoran law and brought him back to the United States, but divorced before completing the adoption process under U.S. law.

After a long legal battle, Mustanich’s father was awarded custody. By that point, Mustanich was five years old.

His father sought to resume the adoption process with the aim of obtaining citizenship for his son, but encountered difficulties because the agency that had helped the couple adopt was no longer operating. In the end, the adoption was never finalized.

At one point, the father took a completed citizenship application to an Immigration and Naturalization Service office, but the clerk refused to accept it and gave him a phone number to call; although the father called the number and left repeated messages, he never received a return call.

Meanwhile, Mustanich had begun to have disciplinary problems at school and was in and out of counseling. Soon afterwards, he was taken into custody by the state and began living in group homes.

His father repeatedly asked judges and social workers in the juvenile justice system to resolve the boy’s citizenship, but nothing was done. Shortly after Mustanich turned eighteen, his father came home one day and found that his house had been burglarized. Suspecting his son of being the culprit, he called the police in the hope that a brush with the law might set his son straight. He had no idea that he was putting in motion a process that would take his son away from him for good.

Mustanich was convicted of burglary in April 1997. While serving his sentence at San Quentin, he received an additional four-year sentence for possessing a homemade knife; Mustanich, who is five feet tall, maintained that he needed the weapon to protect himself from older, bigger inmates. He was ordered deported on the basis of his convictions, and was placed in immigration detention upon completion of his sentence in 2003. He was deported to El Salvador July 10, 2008.

Status: Deported

Home state: California

Country of origin: El Salvador

Status:

Joao Herbert

Joao Herbert was born in Brazil and spent much of his early childhood as an orphan on the streets of Sao Paolo. He was adopted by an Ohio couple at the age of eight. When he was seventeen, his parents discovered that he had not automatically become a U.S. citizen upon his adoption, and submitted a naturalization application. However, Herbert turned eighteen before the processing of the application was complete. Soon after his eighteenth birthday, he pleaded guilty to attempting to sell marijuana and was sentenced to probation and participation in a drug treatment program. Despite the fact that he was a first-time offender who had served no jail time, he was placed in immigration detention for twenty months and then deported to Brazil as an “aggravated felon.” Herbert had no friends or family in Brazil and no longer spoke any Portuguese. Once in Brazil, he began teaching English and became known as "the English professor." His father, who is quadriplegic, was unable to travel to Brazil to visit him. In May of 2004, Herbert was shot and killed in the industrial city of Campinas, 60 miles northwest of Sao Paolo.

Status: Deported, and murdered

Home state: Ohio

Country of origin: Brazil

Status:

John Gaul III

John Gaul III was born in Thailand and adopted by a Florida family as a toddler in 1979. He grew up in Tampa, Florida, attending a private high school where he played soccer, baseball and basketball. The Gauls did not realize until they applied for their son’s passport at age seventeen that he was not a U.S. citizen. They immediately filed an application to naturalize him, but Gaul turned eighteen before the process was completed. At age nineteen he was convicted of writing bad checks and stealing a car, and he served 20 months in prison. By the time he completed his sentence in late 1996, the law had changed and he was not eligible to apply for discretionary relief from deportation. An immigration judge ruled that the agency had taken too long to process Gaul’s citizenship application, but that the 1996 law allowed him no discretion to halt Gaul’s deportation. Gaul was placed in immigration detention upon his release from prison, and was subsequently deported to Thailand, where he knew no one. Gaul is barred for life from returning to the United States.

Status: Deported

Home state: Florida

Country of origin: Thailand

Status:

Julius Schombs

Man adopted from the Philippines in 1986 at the age of five, ran into the law and was subsequently deported.

Status: Unknown, believed to be deported

Home state: Virginia

Country of origin: Philippines

Status:

Kairi Shepherd

 

As a 3-month-old baby Kairi Abha Shepherd was adopted from India by a Utah woman, by the name of Erlene Shepherd, who died of breast cancer before she she could file citizenship papers, in 1991.

In 2003 Kairi

got caught forging checks to pay for her meth habit and as a result now faces deportation to India due to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act.

Kairi suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and is currently detained by

Homeland Security, sometimes allowed to take her MS medication, sometimes not.

Twice, immigration Judge William Nixon has dismissed the government's Notice to Appear against her - once because everyone involved in the case, including prosecutors, assumed Kairi's legal adoption would grant her citizenship, and a second time because her volunteer attorney Alan Smith argued the government could not refile its Notice to Appear to try to change Nixon's original ruling. Undeterred, local ICE prosecutors have appealed to the agency's Board of Immigration Appeals.

Meantime, Kairi has been charged with violating her probation for the original forgery charge. She didn't notify her probation officer she was being held all those months in jail by Immigration. A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 4.

Placement agency:  Americans for International Aid and Adoption (AIAA)

Status: In Dentention

Home state: Utah

Country of origin: India

Status:

Man named Kim

A man with the last name of Kim was deported in 2007 after an issue with drugs. Adopted in 1973, he learned he was not a citizen after his parents died. After 5 years in South Korea, he robbed a bank since he was unable to support himself.
In Korean http://news.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2012/08/03/2012080300287.html?...

Status: Deported

Home state: Arizona

Country of origin: Republic of Korea (South Korea)

Status:

Mario Perez

Mario was brought to Ontario Canada at age 5 to be adopted along with his sister. After 3 years, his adoptive mother placed him in custody of Catholic Children's Aid Society. He was a ward of the state until adulthood, but no one applied for permanent resident status or citizenship. He was deported to Mexico

Status: Deported

Home state:

Country of origin: Mexico

Status:

Marisa Carlson

Marisa Patricia Carlson was illegally adopted in Argentina in 1975 when she was just days old. She entered the country on a visa and got a green card.

At 25, she faced deportation for check forgery.

Status: Unknown

Home state: Minnesota

Country of origin: Argentina

Status:

Mark Lyttle

Mentally ill, 31-year-old adoptee was deported to Mexico, despite being an American citizen... born in North Carolina. ICE ignored FBI evidence that proved Lyttle's citizenship. From Mexico he was deported to Honduras, because he was not a Mexican citizen. Honduras didn't accept him either and deported Lyttle to Guatemala. Eventually he got assistance from the US Embassy in Guatemala and returned to the United States.

Home state: Tennessee

Country of origin: United States of America

Status:

Mary Anne Gehris

Woman adopted from Germany faced deportation for pulling another woman's hair in 1988. She was awarded citizenship in 2001.

Home state: Georgia (state)

Country of origin: Germany

Status:

Monte Haines aka Ho-kyu Han

Monte was born in 1970 in Korea and was sent to the U.S. in 1978. Although he served in the U.S. military, he was deported to Korea in 2009. Monte claims that when he was arrested, he did not know that he had been set up by his truck driving partner to transport drugs. Like most other Korean adoptees sent to the U.S., Monte is culturally American and does not speak Korean.

Home state:

Country of origin: Republic of Korea (South Korea)

Status:

Noe Wilson

Noe Wilson was born in Guatemala. His parents left him with his grandmother and were believed to have been killed during the war. When he was 8 years old, Noe’s grandmother, the only family he knew, died.

He left Guatemala with a group of other young boys and men and headed north, eventually crossing into Texas via Mexico. As a child he worked in the fields, picking fruit and vegetables alongside other illegal immigrants. Noe migrated with other workers to Florida, then Georgia.

At 14 years old he obtained a job working in the kitchen of a local eatery and was soon promoted to assistant kitchen manager. He shared an apartment with a roommate, paid his half of the bills, and rode a bicycle back and forth to work. But, he also was friends with members of a rough crowd got into some minor trouble that landed him in front of a judge, who decided Noe should be in school.

So he became a Rome High School freshman and joined a Hispanic youth group founded at a local church, where he would eventually meet the Danny Wilson and his family.

With the help of an immigration lawyer, Danny Wilson learned the only path to citizenship for Noe would be through adoption, since he had entered the country illegally.

Because the status of his parents was unknown, the Guatemalan government would not grant an adoption until they attempted to find them. In the mean time, the Wilsons were given legal guardianship. So, when he turned 16, Noe got a driver’s license. When he was 18, he graduated with honors from Rome High and was accepted to Shorter College, where he worked to pay his tuition (he did receive $20,000 from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund) and played varsity soccer for four years.

Noe earned his degree, but because he didn’t have the proper paperwork, he couldn’t find a job. When he finally found work, it was with a construction company that paid him in cash. He did not have a driver’s license because a change in the law prevented him from renewing it once it expired. Without a license, Noe could not buy a tag or insurance. Most days Danny Wilson drove Noe to and from work, but could not the day Noe was pulled over.

Now Noe faces deportation to Guatemala.

Status: Unknown

Home state: Georgia (state)

Country of origin: Guatemala

Status:

Pattrick Henderson

Patt Henderson was 18 months old in 1973 when he was adopted in Panama by Edgar and Hedwig Henderson in 1973. The Hendersons were stationed in Panama on military assignment. One year later they returned to Ohio with Patt who was lived here since. Pattrick did not learn he was not a citizen until he tried to enlist in the Army. Then issues with paperwork minor legal skirmishes prevented him from obtaining citizenship.
Patt was arrested for missing an ICE court hearing when his friend's car broke down. (Patt cannot have a driver's license)

Status: In ICE Custody

Home state: Ohio

Country of origin: Panama

Status:

Robin Whiteley

35-year-old man adopted from Mexico by a Texan couple immediately after birth. In 2000 Robin Whiteley was arrested for the possession of drugs and faces deportation to Mexico. He has 4 children in Texas.

Status: Deported

Home state: Texas

Country of origin: Mexico

Status:

Rudi Richardson (Udo Ackermann)

  
Rudi Richardson was adopted by a US military family in Germany in 1957 when he was 2. He is US military veteran. He was never naturalized and deported to Germany from the US in 2003 at age 47. He now lives in the UK

Status: Deported

Home state: California

Country of origin: Germany

Status:

Russel David Green (Lim Sang Keum)

Russell Green (Lim Sang Keum) was born to a Korean mother and an American soldier and has lived in the U.S. for over 30 years. He currently faces possible deportation to Korea – a country whose language he cannot speak, where he has no family who recognizes him, and that revoked his citizenship as part of their adoption laws.

He arrived in Massachusetts from Korea as a 12-year-old boy, but after only a few months, his “forever parents” returned him to the adoption agency before his adoption was finalized. Russell was then placed with a single foster parent living in Brooklyn, New York who cared for older boys and who promised to adopt him. Although this foster parent renamed Sang Keum “Russell David Green,” he did not legally change Russell’s name, adopt him, and facilitate his naturalization.

Instead, he exposed Russell to alcohol, marijuana, and abuse and set him up for a lifetime of addiction, danger, and pain. The agency failed to facilitate a permanent family and home for Russell as a U.S. citizen. Through its irresponsibility, it reduced him to a condition of statelessness, which means in effect that he has lived under constant threat of deportation. Russell’s ties to the U.S., which he considers his home, are deeply personal. Although not being officially adopted, he is regarded as a son by an elderly American couple who have loved and cared for him for over 20 years.

He is a father to three children who were born in New York. Russell’s story could be any intercountry adoptee’s story. A child is vulnerable to the neglect of the receiving country and its adoption agencies, which are bound to act in her/his best interests. As immigrants who journeyed to the U.S. to be adopted, we in the adoptee community and our allies cannot allow these unjust deportations. Children do not come to the U.S. of their own volition to be adopted. They should not be vulnerable to deportation as adults because the intercountry adoption system failed to uphold their rights when they were children.

Home state: New York

Country of origin: Republic of Korea (South Korea)

Status:

Samuel Jonathon Schultz

Samuel Jonathan Schultz, a legal resident of the United States, fears the worst if he is sent back to India, a country he left at age 3 when he was adopted by a West Valley City woman.

The 25-year-old knows little about the nation of his birth, speaks only English and believes he  would have to live on the streets there. As a Christian in general, and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in particular, he believes he will be targeted for persecution. The ICE judge did not agree with that argument. The judge noted that the only way for the Utahn to stay would be to get permission to withdraw both guilty pleas.

Status: unknown, though it appears he was free and still in the US on 06-11-2011

Home state: Utah

Country of origin: India

Status:

Sandra Orantes-Cruz

Sandra Orantes-Cruz, adopted in the US after her mother was killed in El Salvador, was convicted of  felonious assault and kidnapping, in a fight with a boyfriend. She was sentenced to 3 years, and scheduled to be deported. With the support of the Prosecutor and Judge in the original case, her charged were reduced to 360 days probation, which stopped the deportation.
Tragically, her 5 year old son died in a house fire several years later.

Status: Unknown, believed to be in the US

Home state: Ohio

Country of origin: El Salvador

Status:

Seo, mother of 3

31 year old mother of 3, adopted from South Korea in detention pending deportation.

Home state: Arizona

Country of origin: Republic of Korea (South Korea)

Status:

Tara Ammons Cohen

Tara Ammons Cohen was adopted from Mexico when she was 5 month old. In 2008, she was arrested on drug-related charges and now faces deportation to Mexico.

Status: Unknown

Home state: Washington

Country of origin: Mexico

Status:

Tatyana Mitrohina (Gann)

Tatyana Mitrohina (МИТРОХИНА ТАТЬЯНА ЮРЬЕВНА) aka Tatyana Gann was born in 1978 in Moscow Russia with deformities on her hands and feet that she says her parents could not accept. After stays in various public institutions, she was put up for adoption at 14.

She was adopted by a couple in Sonoma County, California, but had a hard transition to life in the United States. Her adoptive parents applied for her to receive citizenship, but bureaucratic delays and legal missteps left Mitrohina without it.

In 2005, the prenatal clinic where she’d been receiving care diagnosed Mitrohina with postpartum depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of her troubled childhood.

She was arrested in June 2007 for abusing her son. Her child was temporarily put in foster care, and the Family Court in Sonoma County agreed that it would be in the child’s best interest to return home if Mitrohina completed a short jail sentence and six-month probation. The terms of her probation required that she enroll in parenting and anger-management classes, seek counseling and begin a course of medications to manage her depression.

Two days after Mitrohina’s sentencing, she found that ICE had put a hold on her record. ICE detainer prohibited her from completing her probation to regain custody of her son.

She was deported to Russia.
Her son was placed with an adoptive family.
She is believed to be living in a homeless shelter in Moscow

Home state: California

Country of origin: Russian Federation

Status:

Tim Yee aka Jungbo Mo

Born in South Korea in 1974 and adopted by a US family in 1997, Tim Yee was deported after legal troubles. He was recently found homeless and injured in Itaewon district of Seoul. (Tim Yee and Jungbo Mo are believed to be the same person, if we are incorrect can someone let us know?)

Status: Deported

Home state:

Country of origin: Republic of Korea (South Korea)

Status:

Various adoptee citizenship and potential deportation cases USA

Articles about adoptees with past or present citizenship issues that are not believed to be currently facing deportation. However, minor illegal activity could cause any of these adopted people with unresolved citizenship to be detained by ICE.

Home state: California

Country of origin:

Status:

Various non-USA adoptee citizenship and deportation articles

Various adoptee citizenship issues in countries other than USA

Home state:

Country of origin:

Status:

Pound Pup Legacy