“A 21-year-old woman who was born in Mexico and adopted by a U.S. couple has received the go-ahead to sue the state of Oregon for mistakenly telling her parents that she automatically became a citizen when she was adopted.
The Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled that Blanca Starr can proceed with her $1 million lawsuit despite the state’s arguments that the statute of limitations had passed, according to The Oregonian.
“I’m ecstatic,” Starr said. “I’m just really relieved.”
Starr discovered her illegal status as a teenager after she tried to get a driver’s permit. She then spent years in limbo, living in fear that she would be deported from her then-Vancouver, Wash., home.
Starr now lives in Arkansas. Her visa expires in 2014 and she plans to apply for permanent residence status.
Starr was a young child when her biological parents or other relatives sneaked her into the United States. Child welfare workers had taken her into state custody by the time she was 4 because they believed her mother was beating her and her father was doing nothing to intervene.
At age 5, Starr was placed in the care of Lisa and Darren Catt, American citizens living in Portland. When she was 8, Starr was adopted by the couple.
Lisa Catt said she was told by caseworkers with the Oregon Department of Human Services that the family did not need to fill out any immigration forms because her daughter automatically had become a U.S. citizen.
That information was incorrect.
When Starr was 16 and tried to get her driver’s permit, state licensing employees told her that her Social Security number needed to be in her adoptive name, not her birth name. She was told she needed proof of citizenship when she went to the Social Security Administration to fix the problem.
Ultimately, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told Starr that she wasn’t a citizen.
Her mother filed paperwork for Starr to become a permanent resident. After almost two years of waiting and paying fees, however, they learned it was too late.
Immigration policy doesn’t punish minors who enter the country illegally. But Starr had already turned 18 and was subject to a three-year ban from the country. She was nearly 19 when a 10-year ban would take effect before she could apply for residency and return.
She married an American citizen eight months ago. But the marriage hasn’t changed her immigration status and her husband can’t sponsor her to become a permanent resident, apparently because of the 10-year-ban she formerly had been under, Starr said.”
Portland adoption lawsuit to proceed
[Bend Bulletin 8/20/12 by The Associated Press]
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