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Alexander (Allie) Mulhivill, 16, is the latest victim of a rigid and heartless immigration system that often does not work. And no–she is not an “illegal alien.” Allie was adopted by U.S. citizens, Lori and Scott Mulhiville, when she was 2 years old from Guatemala. For the past 14 years, the Mulhivills have been trying to get a visa for Allie without any luck. And time is running out for her as Allie turns 16 and becomes another DREAMer who cannot work, vote, drive legally, travel abroad, get financial aid for college because the USCIS is not willing to give her a visa.
All this is because 15 years ago, the U.S. Embassy failed to verify that the woman giving Allie up for adoption was her birth mother–from the get go they allowed Allie to be adopted but did not grant her a visa because later they suspected baby trafficking. Allie continues to be in immigration limbo even as her adoptive parents fight to keep her in the United States but she risks deportation when she turns 16. Would readopting her do the trick? Government officials give no guarantee–they are still stuck on their baby trafficking scenario even without any hard evidence. Keeping Allie and her family in a state of permanent limbo based on unproven hypothesis is cruel and inhumane.
When the Mulhivills asked government officials how they could keep their daughter, USCIS was particularly unhelpful and told them they “simply cannot ignore the law. We strongly urge the Mulvihills to provide evidence showing their daughter is eligible for permanent residency.”
Having almost given up on attorneys and government officials after years of making the rounds, the Mulhivilles are appealing to the public. This problem could be taken care of if the federal government passed the DREAM Act. What do other government officials say when asked for advice?
“We asked a gentleman from the state department after months, we said, ‘What is going to happen to Allie if you don’t allow her to come here?’ He said, ‘You have legally adopted her. She’s going to go to an orphanage and you must pay for this.’ He said, ‘We’re going to put her back on the garbage heap she came from.’ Yeah, this is how we were spoken to by our government,” Lori Mulvihill said
Allie is keeping optimistic despite her limbo immigration status. “I want to be able to have a job, drive, be able to vote, everything else other people take for granted. I’ve been here for 14 years I haven’t done anything wrong,” Allie Mulvihill said.
We hope for the sake of Allie and her family, her immigration issue is resolved soon and she does not face deportation away from her family. In the meantime, there is always the DREAM Act.
Adoption Timeline Key events in Allie’s adoption process:
October 1993: Guatemala approves adoption for Scott and Lori Mulvihill.
December 1993: U.S. Embassy denies the Mulvihills’ baby a visa because of suspicion of baby trafficking.
Aug. 23, 1994: With then-U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno’s intervention, the Mulvihills’ baby arrives in the United States on two-year humanitarian parole.
1996: The Mulvihills first try to apply for citizenship for Allie.
May 2001: The Immigration and Naturalization Service denies Allie citizenship.
March 22, 2005: The Mulvihills meet with director of immigration services in Philadelphia and are told citizenship would be granted if they get DNA from Allie’s birth mother.
2007: Guatemala approves a treaty requiring uniform procedures for international adoptions.
August 2007: Guatemalan police raid adoption home run by two people who worked on Allie’s adoption; arrests follow.
May 2008: Guatemalan attorney general puts 2,286 pending adoptions on hold as authorities investigate.
Aug. 18, 2008: Allie turns 16 and will no longer be considered an orphan by immigration services.
Source: Allentown Morning Call and the AP