When stupid government policies interfere with good deeds


March 31, 2004

Press Democrat Editorial


Sue Piland deserves a medal of honor. For five years the Rohnert Park woman has been fighting a battle against government stupidity.


In 1998, when Piland decided to adopt 8-year-old Vicente -- who had been in foster care for two years -- she wasn't told by the state Department of Social Services that the boy was in the country illegally. Stupid policy No. 1.


When Piland tried to get her son's status changed she learned of a two-to-four-year process that included returning Vicente to Mexico in hopes that U.S. officials would let him reenter the country legally. Stupid policy No. 2.


To win the fight to keep her son in the country, Piland has spent between $3,000 and $5,000 and has needed the help of an attorney. Stupid policy No. 3.


In response to Piland's story, Assemblyman Joe Nation, D-San Rafael, is carrying legislation that would require prospective parents to be notified if a child is in the country illegally and that would force California to provide an immigration attorney for undocumented dependents of the court. This common sense legislation should be approved quickly.


It's even more important that federal law be changed so that children who are dependents of the court are considered legal residents, and, if the children are adopted, they should automatically become citizens. Anything short of this is just plain stupid.





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