exposing the dark side of adoption
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Akron Beacon Journal (OH)

Ohio's rich immigrant history is reflected in its diverse population. It is not always reflected in the administration of justice for those who run afoul of immigration laws. That situation is about to improve. The Department of Justice announced last week that it will create an immigration court in the state (opening by the end of next summer).

Prodded by Sen. Mike DeWine, the Justice Department agreed to create the court, although it has yet to name a location. The past year, three high-profile cases have emerged in this area -- Kent's Ashraf al-Jailani, who may be deported to Yemen,

Sandra Orantes Cruz

of Medina, who faces possible deportation to El Salvador and Young Zheng of Akron, who could be deported to China. Cleveland would be an ideal home for the court. [al-Jailani and Zheng are not adoptees]

The court is sorely needed. Ohio has nearly 3,000 cases awaiting adjudication, the most of any state without its own immigration court. In many instances, such as that of al-Jailani, families are torn apart during the legal process, the immigrant jailed in one state while families remain behind. Ohio's cases are heard currently via teleconference in Virginia.

Whether the immigrant is detained near family or far away, it is more difficult to get a fair hearing when the judge cannot see all evidence or when lawyers cannot confer in private with their clients, the constraints of the current videoconferencing system. Ohio has long been a destination for immigrants seeking new opportunities. The state should have the tools to ensure immigrants a fair hearing when the American dream threatens to go sour.

2005 Nov 17