A Missouri judge ruled on Wednesday that the 5-year-old son of Encarnacion Bail Romero would remain under the legal care of his adoptive American parents, the Mosers. The legal battle came to a final close after over four years of court cases. The case went all the way to the Missouri Supreme Court before it ordered a retrial to hear both sides of the case again, CNN reports.
The difficult and complicated case began back in 2007 when Bail Romero was taken into custody after an immigration raid at a factory she worked at. Her 6-month-old son was taken away from her immediately and placed in the hands of caretakers who eventually placed him in the hands of Seth and Melinda Moser.
Bail Romero, who had named her son Carlos, argues that she never consented to the official adoption proceedings. The Supreme Court agreed with this argumentation, thereby starting a retrial in the Missouri court. The Mosers renamed the child Jamison when they adopted him at two years old. The Mosers’ defense argues that Encarnacion Bail Romero had abandoned her child when she did not contact anyone regarding her son. They also claimed she was an unfit parent.
The judge finally ruled that Bail Romero could not offer the child stability, stating, “illegally smuggling herself into the country is not a lifestyle that can provide any stability for the child.” Perhaps the most unsettling aspect of the entire adoption and court proceedings was the very limited resources allotted to Bail Romero. She speaks very little English and states that she had no way of contacting the local Missouri families who originally looked after her son after she was arrested.
Even during the final trial, in which the judge ordered that Bail Romero had no rights to see or visit her child again, there was no translator present to inform the woman of the decision, according to ABC News. Both the adoptive parents and the biological mother had limited comments after the final decision. Bail Romero’s lawyer stated, “I am very disappointed about the decision.” The Mosers’ defense stated that everyone was happy with the decision but made no comment as to whether they would allow Bail Romero to visit her son.
The case was decided based on the emotional and physical needs of the child, who has been living with the Mosers’ for over three years, speaks fluent English, and knows his name is Jamison. But the legal implications of the case run deep. The initial adoptive procedures call into question what rights an undocumented parent has in the United States. The current decision seems to indicate that undocumented parents have no rights when it comes to their children. What rights do undocumented workers have to translators, information and resources when catastrophe strikes and court proceedings are incurred?
Photo Credit: Michiel Van Drunen