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Deported father wants custody of his 3 children

Child custody cases can get confusing enough. However, throw in immigration law and accusations of child abuse and the entire situation can quickly become even more complicated.

One father, who was deported back to Mexico two years ago, was recently in the U.S. to attend a child custody hearing. This hearing was after his wife, who is currently in jail, lost custody of the couple's three children. It was determined she is an unfit parent.

The father's goal was to win custody of his children and take them back to Mexico with him. He also wants his wife to come with them. However, child-welfare officials claim that he and his wife are both unfit parents and that the home in Mexico is not suitable for the children to live in. The wife's parental rights are also being terminated.

There are also claims that the father had physically abused the children in the past. However, an attorney representing the father was quick to point out that while there were abuse and neglect accusations, the social services department had never stepped in to try and take the children away from their father. Basically, this raises the question of if the abuse was really happening, why weren't the children taken away earlier?

In this case, if the father was denied custody and stripped of his parental rights, the plan is for the children to stay in the U.S. with the foster parents they are currently living with.

When looking at a case such as this, one where immigration issues also come in to play, officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement claim that the real issue is that there is no system that allows for parents who are detained to be able to make decisions regarding their children. This means, like in this father's case, getting picked up on traffic violations and deported can end up leading to a loss of parental rights.

Source: Winston-Salem Journal, "Deported man tries to win back custody of sons in Alleghany," Michael Hewlett, Nov. 19, 2012

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