She's only 15, but Allie Mulvihill is worried about much more than getting her driver's license or what she's going to wear to prom. This young Latina fears she may be seperated from the only family she has ever known and forced to return to a country she hasn't seen in 13 years.
Lori and Scott Mulvihill adopted Allie was adopted from Guatemala by back in 1994. When they brought their 2 year old home, they never dreamed she would have so much trouble obtaining her US citizenship. Now, more than 10 years and thousands of forms later, the Mulvihill's say they are frustrated at all of the the bureaucratic hoops they have been forced to jump through and just want this whole process to be resolved, "We're told to go in one direction and when we do, we're told to switch gears and go in another direction." a frustrated Scott Mulvihill told CNN.
At the heart of the issue is the fact that Allie's original Guatemalan birth certificate was filed 10 months after her birth date, which raised a flag for U.S. immigration officials who believed that she may have been a victim of a baby trafficking scheme. The Mulvihill's countered that claim with proof that U.S. embassy officials interviewed the woman claiming to be Allie's biological mother at the time of the adoption and did not raise any concerns.
The government continues to make Allie's life difficult, in spit of all; the time that has passed. This is arguably a case that merits special consideration. Even if there are concerns that the child was trafficked, Allie should not be punished for a crime she obviously didn't commit. However the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services doesn't see it that way, "Even in the most sympathetic of situations, such as this, we do not selectively dismiss our immigration laws. We have been working with the Mulvihill family and we continue to urge them to provide evidence that this minor is eleigible for permanent residence." We wonder if that would be the case if Allie was adopted from say, Ireland, perhaps?
The Mulvihill's are fed up (for good reason) and Allie is scared, "I don't know where I'm going to end up after all of this...if it doesn't work out," she says. Allie also claims that the battle for her citizenship has been a constant reminder that she is different from other people in her family. Unfortunately for Allie, her lack of citizenship will only cause more problems for her as she gets older and is unable to get a driver's license, vote or apply for financial aid for college.
Allie is staying positive and believes the support of her parents and younger sister Olivia (Lori and Scott's biological daughter) will help her make it through this battle, "It's been great growing up here," Allie says, "My family means everything to me."
What do you think? Should Allie recieve special consideration or should her parents be forced to somehow prove the legitimacy of her adoption? Should there be special immigration laws put in place to help protect the children involved?