It’s a madre’s worst nightmare. Guatemalan immigrant Encarnacion Bail Romero, had her son taken away from her when she was detained for being in the country illegally back in 2007. Romero was arrested during an immigration raid at a poultry processing plant and sentenced to two years in a federal prison after she pleaded guilty to “aggravated identity theft” for having a stolen a social security number to get work. Romero’s son, originally named Carlos, was then adopted by Carthage, Missouri couple, Seth and Melinda Moser and renamed Jamison shortly after her arrest.
On Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the state laws were not followed when the boy, now 4-years-old, was adopted. The court ordered mandatory reports on Romero, the Mosers, the boy, and a retrial at a lower court regarding Romero’s parental rights.
"The trial court plainly erred by entering judgment on the adoption petition and terminating (the) mother's parental rights without complying with the investigation and reporting requirements," Judge Patricia Breckenridge wrote in the seven-member court's principal opinion.
Many Guatemalan political figures submitted written arguments to the state Supreme Court. Guatemala’s ambassador to the U.S., Francisco Villagran attended the hearing and sat close to Romero and told the Associated Press that the dispute was, “the result of unclear American immigration rules.”
John De Leon, a lawyer for the Guatemalan ministry, was in agreement with Tuesday’s decision but had hope for no further proceedings, “The court has recognized that immigrants have rights, the same rights as anyone else, to raise their children,” De Leon said to Associated Press.
Joe Hensley, attorney to the Mosers, stated that the boy would remain with the family until the next adoption proceeding.
Immigrants rights groups, especially those who champion reunification for families torn apart by enforcement agencies, will watch this case closely. There is no clear right or wrong anymore, as the young boy has only known the Moser family as his mother and father. We’ll be watching this case closely, but for now, tell us: