When stupid government
policies interfere with good deeds
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.
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.