The U.S. government may have to pay big bucks to settle an unbelievable case involving an anchor baby—traveling from Guatemala with her illegal immigrant grandfather—who wasn’t allowed into the country to be reunited with her illegal alien parents.
It sounds like a bad joke, but it’s a real-life case pending in federal court and a George W. Bush-appointed judge appears to sympathize with the illegal immigrants. In a ruling issued this month, Judge Kiyo Matsumoto in the Eastern District of New York refused to dismiss the case against the government and accused U.S. Homeland Security agents of “negligence and laziness” for essentially doing their job.
Here’s the incredible story; a Guatemalan couple living illegally in Long Island New York sent their 4-year-old, U.S.-born daughter to spend winter with her extended family in Guatemala. The maternal grandfather, a Guatemalan who had previously violated U.S. immigration laws, traveled with the girl since her parents’ illegal status would prevent them from reentering the U.S. if they left. But when the girl, Emily, and her grandpa, Luis Dubon, returned from their Central American adventure, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) found the grandfather did not have proper documentation to enter the United States.
Inclement weather diverted the New York-bound flight to Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia and federal authorities there busted Dubon for not having a valid visa or border crossing identification card and for fraudulently attempting to enter the United States by failing to disclose that he had previously been unlawfully present in the country. Officers eventually called Emily’s parents to inform them that Dubon would be sent back to Guatemala.
The girl ended up returning to Central America with her grandpa because, according to court documents, a federal agent told the parents that the minor could not be returned to “illegals.” So they consented to letting Emily fly back with Dubon. A few weeks later a lawyer retrieved the girl and the family sued the U.S. government for what they claim is the deportation of an American citizen. In the complaint, the illegal immigrant couple asserts that they were coerced by the feds to consent to Emily’s return to Guatemala because they felt threatened.
Although they willingly shipped her off to spend winter in Guatemala, their lawsuit against the government refers to the second trip as a “forced stay” that traumatized the girl and led a child psychologist to eventually diagnose her with posttraumatic stress disorder. Furthermore, U.S. agents only fed the girl a cookie and a soda during the entire ordeal, the family alleges in the complaint, and they never gave her a blanket or pillow so she could sleep in the cold holding cell where she was being held.
Judge Matsumoto blasted CBP for taking 14 hours to contact the parents and for only providing the child with a cookie and soda over 20 hours. She also wrote that the immigration status of the girl’s parents has no bearing on her right to be returned to them in the U.S. “The government fails to identify any policy, guideline or regulation relating to the situation of an admitted minor U.S. citizen being separated from her parents that would justify the application of the discretionary function exception, and offers no authority as to why CBP Officers could properly exercise discretion by simply refusing to reunite a verified U.S. minor citizen with her biological and legal parents,” the judge writes in her ruling.
Illegal immigrants are suing government agencies—at the federal, state and local level—at an increasing rate and courts around the country are often ruling in their favor. Judicial Watch has reported on a number of these lawsuits, which have become quite common under President Obama. They include suits over civil rights violations when illegal aliens get arrested for deportation, over the right to solicit work on the street and for “unconstitutionally” denying drivers’ licenses.