exposing the dark side of adoption
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US Citizen May Be Deported


Jennifer Parks

BUCKEYE, Ariz. -- On paper Bradley Zazueta looks like a U.S. Citizen. He has a Social Security Number, a U.S birth certificate and an Arizona driver's license.

Now 24 years old, Zazueta has been in the United States since he was 11 weeks old. His family said he can't speak of word of Spanish, but now he could be deported back to Mexico, the country he left decades ago.

"He was 11 weeks when we got him," said Linda Zazueta, Bradley's mother. "He was about 18 months when the adoption was finalized."

Zazueta said she went through an adoption agency and the Bradley was brought to she and her husband in Nogales, Arizona back in 1985.

But when Bradley was 19, the family said he got in trouble for stealing. He wound up serving some time behind bars after he violated his probation.

That's when officials realized he was missing one valuable piece of documentation -- an immigration number.

Zazueta was then sent to Eloy, Ariz., where he's been in immigration custody for the past six months.

"There's no record of him coming into the country," Zazueta said.

Immigration officials now want him deported back to Mexico, even though he's lived almost his whole life here.

"They say he's not a citizen," said Zazueta said. "But he is a citizen. He is a child of two American citizens."

An immigration judge agreed with the family. On March 12, the judge ruled Bradley Zazueta is a citizen, but ICE appealed.

"Ice told us they will drive him to Nogales and watch him cross the border and that will be it," Zazueta said.

ICE officials tell CBS 5 News they can't comment until Thursday on the case.

Meantime, the family said their attorney filed a motion to have Bradley released on bond while they fight the hearing.

"We just want him home," Zazueta said.

2009 Apr 15