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Greensboro family faces nightmare after botched immigration

Laws can break families apart. Although family courts must act in the best interests of children and others who cannot speak for themselves, laws can seem coldly deferential to parents and other concerned parties. That is why lawyers must sometimes work to keep families together.

A teenage girl from Greensboro is facing an uncertain fate along with her parents after they first came to North Carolina in the 2000s. The girl was an infant when her parents fled religion persecution in Southeast Asia. The U.S. government had a more relaxed attitude towards accepting families at the time, and although families are generally required to apply for permanent resident status even for their children, the girl’s legal status remained in limbo for years.

The family thought they had put the matter to rest by legally adopting their own daughter in a North Carolina court in 2009, but a green card application in 2017 was denied because the adoption did not meet federal requirements. Now, their daughter is at risk for deportation.

“What’s tragic is that the federal government helped this family settle here, knowing full well that [the girl] only had a provisional travel document at age 6 months, coming from a refugee camp, and is now putting up barriers to her getting legal status,” said a spokesperson for a nongovernmental organization that works against deportation.

When families need to use the law to stay together, it is time to consider legal representation. Attorneys can make sense of some unthinkable scenarios and help create a case for the interests of parents, families and others who care about children.