Sunday, July 20, 2008


This really gets to me. First we had a gentleman deported back to India. Then we had another adoptee deported back to Brazil. We now have the young girl that they are threatening to deport to Guatemala. Here is another adoptee who has been deported back to El Salvador. This fellow spent eleven years behind bars already. His father was just trying to do the right thing. Teach his son a lesson.

I do expect the NCFA to start standing up for these adoptees. Excuse me, you idiots profitted of the adoption. The least you can do is stand up for these people and fight their deportation.

Here is the story and the link.

Burglary conviction leads to deportation

July 20, 2008
A man adopted by a U.S. couple when he was 6 months old has been deported to El Salvador after spending five years in immigration detention in Otay Mesa while he appealed his case.

Union-Tribune file photo
Jess Mustanich, shown at an immigration detention facility in Otay Mesa in 2005, was deported to El Salvador this month.
Jess Mustanich, 29, arrived in El Salvador on July 10 after losing his appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last spring, a proceeding that stemmed from a burglary conviction 11 years ago. Described by his father as “a middle-class white kid” raised in an Anglo household, Mustanich learned a handful of Spanish words from Latino detainees while in immigration detention, but is otherwise starting over as a stranger in a strange land.

Speaking by phone Friday from a San Salvador hotel, he described going through customs at the airport.

“They brought out some guy, and he asked, 'Why don't you speak Spanish?' ” Mustanich said. “I told him it was because I was adopted, and he said, 'Then why are you here?' ”

Mustanich's case is rare. But foreign adoptees occasionally land in deportation proceedings, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, usually after getting into trouble with the law and learning that their parents, who brought them into the United States legally, did not complete the process of making them citizens.

Not long ago, ICE deported another foreign adoptee held in San Diego, a man adopted in 1959 from Japan when he was 1. While a 2000 law made citizenship virtually automatic for most adopted children brought into the United States, it doesn't apply retroactively.

Mustanich landed in prison as a teenager after he and some friends burglarized his father's house. His father, hoping to scare him straight, called the police. Jess Mustanich's resulting conviction for residential burglary set in motion a series of events that his father did not imagine.

“I was trying to do the right thing for my kid,” said Bill Mustanich, 61, of San Jose. “Every time I think about this, I think about throwing up. What am I going to do about him now?”

Bill Mustanich, who recently retired from his job as a school adviser for troubled teens, said he tried on several occasions to naturalize his son. He and his wife adopted their son under Salvadoran law through an agency in 1979; the couple divorced before they followed through on naturalizing Jess.

After the dust settled, Bill Mustanich hired a family law attorney to complete the process; his son was about 5. The attorney ran into roadblocks, including changes in the law and the fact that the adoption agency was no longer in business.

In 1988, with his son in tow, Bill Mustanich took a completed citizenship application to an Immigration and Naturalization Service field office in San Jose, he said, but they were turned away and given a phone number to call. Bill Mustanich said he called several times and left messages, but never received a reply.

Meanwhile, Jess Mustanich was growing up and he began to act out, experimenting with alcohol and drugs and getting into trouble. Shortly after his 18th birthday, Jess Mustanich and several friends who had been stealing from their parents burglarized his father's home. The police were called and, Jess Mustanich was convicted of residential burglary in 1997.

Neither father nor son knew at the time that changes to immigration law enacted the previous year had eliminated most legal relief for legal U.S. residents convicted of a crime.

According to immigration officials, Jess Mustanich matched the definition of a deportable alien, regardless of his adoption background. In 2003, after his release from prison, he was placed in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to await deportation.

“He had a criminal conviction that made him removable, and our job is to comply with what the judge orders,” said Lauren Mack, an agency spokeswoman in San Diego.

At a hotel now for more than a week, Jess Mustanich isn't sure what to do next. His father can provide financial support, and members of a local branch of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, of which he is a member, have helped get him oriented.

Bill Mustanich, who referred to ICE as “an agency out of control,” plans to travel to El Salvador, though he feels helpless.

“It's a country in turmoil,” he said. “I am terrified about his ability to move around. The whole thing is just appalling.”

Jess Mustanich said he would like to return home one day, but realizes it's unlikely. He recently bought a copy of “The Complete Idiot's Guide to Intermediate Spanish” at a bookstore.

“It's going to take some time,” he said. “Until then, I'm going to have to rely on hand signals.”


AngelaW said...

I feel so sorry for the Mustanich family. The odds of Jess ever legally getting back into the US are very low.

Article is wrong on one point. It stated "While a 2000 law made citizenship virtually automatic for most adopted children brought into the United States, it doesn't apply retroactively."

It does apply retroactively for specific cases. This is how my daughter gained her US citizenship.

The effective date of the Child Citizenship Act is February 27, 2001. Children who met these requirements on that date automatically became American citizens. Children who were 18 years of age or older on that date did not acquire American citizenship from the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

The requirements are:

# Have at least one American citizen parent by birth or naturalization;
# Be under 18 years of age;
# Live in the legal and physical custody of the American citizen parent; and
# Be admitted as an immigrant for lawful permanent residence

Amyadoptee said...

The young girl in Pennsylvania is one that I do worry about. She is fifteen and will be sixteen soon. She is supposed to be deported soon. I can only imagine the horror for her. Sixteen and in a country where she doesn't speak the language. I am sure her parents will go with her but even still. We have a real problem with the adoption industry and immigration if we are targeting adoptees. They shouldn't be made to suffer like this.

Eve said...

I hate to be a troublemaker, but internationally adopted people have always had the right to become U.S. citizens if their adoptive parents applied for citizenship before the child turned 18. Did these parents whose kids were deported not do their jobs as parents? It's hard to believe that they had as many as 17years to apply for citizenship and simply let it slip their minds.

Does anyone know if the parents applied for citizenship on behalf of their children like they were supposed to? If not, the adoptive parents are to blame--along with teh agencies, who are supposed to follow up with the parents to verify that the child has been naturalized. There's no excuse for not doing that. Then, if they applied and U.S. INS gave them problems, there should be an outcry.

Amyadoptee said...

From what I understand in this case and in the young girl's case, they have been given the run around several times over with the process of naturalization. The young girl never even committed a crime here in the U.S.

I do believe in some extend the adoptive parents are to blame on this issue but when our own State Department won't help these adoptees out. I think the NCFA and the JCICS should be stepping up to help these adoptees as well. They won't because of the profit issue in this.

Eve said...

Yes, I read that... but something is fishy. The federal laws governing naturalization of an internationally adopted child are clear and, even before the change several years ago, it wasn't like doing brain surgery. You needed an adoption decree from the foreign country; you needed proof of your own identities, and you needed the usual home study.

Many parents rely on the foreign adoption (if the child is adopted first in the other country) and think they do not need to re-adopt in the U.S. immediately after returning home. This can cause big problems, obviously; probably waiting so many years contributed to the problem.

The worst part of this seems to be that the parents and adopted guy had nowhere to turn for help or advocacy.

Amyadoptee said...

This is where I think the JCICS and the NCFA should step up and fight for these adoptees. Granted some of these adoptions maybe illegal but the agency and the industry itself shows that its not doing things right. Its a matter of time before many of these younger international adoptees start to have issues with this as well. I don't think adoptive parents these days stop to realize that this will be an issue for them.

I don't want to alienate many of the good adoptive parents out there. It is the entitlement of adoptive parents and the adoption industry active encouragement of their attitude that is causing this. You and I both know this. After two years of research on this, adoption as a whole needs a major investigation. In order for that to be done, its going to take the resources of both the CIA and the FBI to do this. It is being done on small scale because enough adoptive parents are screaming bloody murder. I am starting to see many of these agencies being investigated and shut down.

Just looking at the COA accreditation standards tell me that they want to treat it like a mechanical business. An example of that is working at a call center. I remember we had to keep track of our statistics with our calls. They had done the research and discovered that most people can resolve these calls for revenue management (collections) in seven minutes. What they hadn't counted on was people wanting to resolve other issues in these calls. So many of us became customer service representatives as well collections representatives in those calls as well. I get the impression reading the money side of adoption is going more to that way of thinking. Sealing the deal is getting that proverbial baby from the natural parents and getting money from the adoptive parents. They will use unscrupulous tactics to get that deal done.

They want to run adoption in the most cost effective and efficient manner but they lose track that it is about children and humanity. I have heard from countless of mothers and fathers out there who have heard agency attorneys and social workers discussing adoptees and their families as product and producers and the best market for that. That is scary. We are totally ignoring the human factor.

Snafu Suz said...

OMG, this is horrible! I had no idea such a thing could even happen to an adoptee. The ability to deport an adoptee just shouldn't even exist. I'm horrified that it does. I'm speechless.