Author Archives: Sharma-Crawford

Updates to the Schreiber Family Case

October 30, 2018

This petition was started to help the Schreibers. As of this date, the Schreibers still need almost 2,000 more signatures to reach the 50,000 goal. If you have not yet signed the petition, please click here to sign. 


Thank you Angie Ricono at KCTV5 for putting together this story of the situation the Schreiber family is facing. 

A Six-Tour American Military Veteran One Step Closer to Being Forced to Leave the U.S. Choosing Daughter over Country

 

Kansas City, MO (October 11, 2018) – U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Patrick Schreiber and his family are dealing with another blow in their battle to navigate the misalignment of U.S. adoption and immigration laws.

Hyebin traveled from Korea at the age of 15 to live with her uncle and aunt Lt. Col. Schreiber and his wife, Soo Jin Yu. They legally adopted her at the age of 17; after Lt. Col. Schreiber returned from another tour in Afghanistan. The family later discovered that for an adopted child to be considered for immigration benefits under one part of the US immigration law, the adoption must have been completed before the child turned 16. The family, however, has argued that other provisions of immigration law may still be properly utilized to grant Hyebin the right to stay with her parents permanently. The portion of the immigration laws that the Schrieber’s wish to utilize involves recognizing that the state of Kansas, by its adoption laws, places an adopted child on the same footing as a biological child and this method of legitimating a child comports with the federal immigration law.

Friday, September 28, U.S. District of Kansas, Judge Daniel D. Crabtree, ruled in favor of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), concluding that the “plain meaning of most definitions of the word ‘legitimate’ suggests that a biological connection is required, and that the law of the child or father’s domicile alone does not supply the definition.” In so finding, the Court recognized that Hyebin would be left with no legal remedy despite having a valid Kansas birth certificate. The court stated, “If the court interprets [the immigration law] to require a biological relationship, it recognizes that the statute will not cover this ‘narrow classification of children…The court acknowledges that the statute thus will not achieve at least one congressional goal—family unity for these children.”  Despite this recognition, the Court found that the US immigration law turned on a biological connection alone.

Hyebin has been recognized by the State of Kansas and the US military as the legitimate adopted child of Lt. Col. Schreiber and his wife.  The court’s ruling however means that Hyebin would have to leave the country right after graduation from college from Kansas University, where she is a senior studying chemical engineering.

The Schreiber’s lawyer, Rekha Sharma-Crawford, has already filed an appeal of Judge Crabtree’s decision.  The family is hoping that the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals uphold Congresses “clearly expressed legislative intention to keep together the family unit wherever possible, it would appear to be a desirable result, based upon legal and equitable considerations, to adopt a liberal construction. No harm could possibly result from such a construction, and the consequences would fulfill the humane considerations involved in keeping intact the family unit.” (H.R. REP. NO. 85-1199, pt. 2 (1957))

Lt. Col. Schreiber has indicated that if Hyebin is not allowed to stay, he and his wife will relocate to South Korea to keep the family together. As previously stated, his greatest regret is that in this one instance, he should have put the need of his family ahead of the Army.

“Can you imagine? An American veteran, who has given his life to this Country is forced to leave the country he served because the daughter he loves is not welcome here,” said Sharma-Crawford. “That cannot be what the law means. It just can’t.”

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Lawrence, KS Chemistry Professor, Syed Jamal, Wins Remand from the Board of Immigration Appeals

Kansas City, MO (August 14, 2018) – The Board of Immigration Appeals has agreed with a Lawrence, Kansas Chemistry Professor that he should be given an opportunity to present his deportation case to an Immigration Judge. In its decision, dated Aug. 9, 2018 and received late yesterday, the Board found that “reopening is warranted”. The decision will now allow Mr. Jamal to have an Immigration Judge in Kansas City review his deportation case and any relief he may have.

“This is certainly a wonderful day for Mr. Jamal, his wife and their three children,” said Rekha Sharma-Crawford a principal in Sharma-Crawford Attorneys at Law and Jamal’s lead attorney. “Since the Board of Immigration Appeals remanded the case for a full hearing, Mr. Jamal and his family will now have the opportunity to ask an Immigration Judge to review multiple forms of relief allowed under the law; it is also a good day for the rule of law.”

“The family could not be happier”, said Alan Anderson a shareholder at Polsinelli and a friend of the family. “Syed is part of our community’s fabric and we are all thrilled with the Board’s decision”.

Jamal garnered worldwide attention after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials took into custody of him in front of his children on Jan. 24, 2018. Beloved as a professor, neighbor and friend, his community, outraged by what they were witnessing, and his children, ignited a campaign for his return.

After an Immigration Judge denied his pleas to intervene, Jamal appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals. In the meantime he continued to be held in custody, being flown as far away as Hawaii before the Board issued a stay of removal. Upon return to Kansas City, efforts began, including filing a federal lawsuit, to secure Jamal’s release from detention. Troubled by the Jamal’s treatment, the powerhouse Kansas City law firm Polsinelli joined the fight offering their top litigators to provide pro bono assistance. Finally, on March 20, 2018, after a lengthy hearing, U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark ordered Jamal’s release.

While the case is far from over, the threat of deportation is no longer imminent. The case will return to the Kansas City Immigration Court where an immigration judge will decide the fate of Jamal and his family. The Board’s decision, means that he is now able to seek any relief available under the law. It is also likely, the community and children who propelled Jamal to fame will finally be able to tell a judge what Jamal means to them and why he should not be deported from the United States.

A Six-Tour American Military Veteran May be Forced to Leave the U.S. Choosing Daughter Over Country

U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Patrick Schreiber solemnly swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that he will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that he will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over him, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. But, so help him God, Lt. Col. Schreiber and his wife, Soo Jin Ye, are prepared to leave the U.S. with their daughter, Hyebin, if Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deports her to South Korea.

Lt. Col. Schreiber and Mrs. Schreiber, a lawful U.S. permanent resident, were married on January 7, 2000 in Killeen, Texas. Like many military families, the couple endured long periods of separation while Lt. Col. Schreiber served six combat tours. Though happily married, they were unable to have children of their own.

On the other side of the world in Korea lived a 15-year-old girl named Hyebin. Her father, Mrs. Schreiber’s brother, was unable to provide a stable home for Hyebin. When Lt. Col. Schreiber and Mrs. Schreiber visited Korea, the connection with Hyebin was undeniable. Like all children, Hyebin, longed for stability and that dream came true when she was given the opportunity to come to the U.S. to live with the Schreibers. In December 2012, Hyebin entered the country on a student visa, settled in with Lt. Col. Schreiber and Mrs. Schreiber at their home in Lansing, Kansas, and began attending high school.

As time passed and the bond between them strengthened, it was clear to the Schreibers that Hyebin had become their daughter in their hearts. To make it official, the two filed for adoption in Kansas, and Hyebin’s biological parents freely and voluntarily consented. On November 17, 2014, the Kansas Court granted the adoption making Hyebin, in each and every way, the Schreibers’ legitimate daughter.

Exactly one month later, on December 17, 2014, at the age of 17, Hyebin received a valid birth certificate from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Office of Vital Statistics, and her foreign birth certificate was forever sealed. Hyebin’s Kansas birth record, which is now the only legitimate birth record she has, lists U.S. Army Lt. Col. Patrick Schreiber as “father” and Mrs. Schreiber as “mother.” Under Kansas law, Hyebin is entitled to “the same personal and property rights as a birth child of her adoptive parents and her parents are entitled to exercise all rights due to birth parents and be subject to all the liabilities of that relationship.” In other words, Hyebin and her parents were now a bona fide family.

Recognizing the Schreibers as a valid and legitimate family, the Department of Defense issued Hyebin, as the daughter of an Army officer, her military ID card on February 4, 2015. During Lt. Col. Schreiber’s tour of duty, Hyebin and her mother filled the gap in their family with Skype calls and emails from Kansas to Afghanistan. Like all military families, the times between reunions and deployments were the happiest for the Schreiber family.

Hyebin has a Kansas-state issued birth certificate. She is the daughter of a decorated Army officer and is recognized by the Department of Defense as the legal daughter of the Schreiber’s. She is attending the University of Kansas, for which her parents are paying more than $40,000 per year in tuition, has an F-1 Visa and will graduate in 2019.

Surprisingly, what she doesn’t have is U.S. citizenship, nor a clear path to it, which she’ll need to remain with her parents in the country once she graduates college and her F-1 Visa expires.

A Military Officer’s Life Revolves Around Following Rules

If anyone understands the importance of following rules to the letter it is Lt. Col. Patrick Schreiber. To ensure Hyebin was compliant with U.S. immigration laws, he went to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and asked for assistance with his daughter’s immigration status. USCIS officers told Lt. Col. Patrick Schreiber that his daughter was an American citizen based on the adoption and they instructed him to file a Form N-600, Application for a Certificate of Citizenship. So, he did.

Yet on February 24, 2015, the Kansas City, Missouri District Office denied Hyebin’s application.Confused, Lt. Col. Schreiber returned to USCIS. This time, USCIS officers told him to file a visa petition for his daughter. Which he did. He filed an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, based on the definition of a child under 8 U.S.C. §1101(b) (1)(C), and classifying Hyebin as an immediate relative, his and Mrs. Schreiber’s daughter.

On November 10, 2015, USCIS issued a Notice of Intent to Deny the petition, despite the visa petition being submitted under 8 U.S.C. §1101(b)(1)(C), which is based on Hyebin becoming the Schreibers’ legitimate daughter before she turned 18.

USCIS’s reason was that since Hyebin had been adopted, she needed to comply with the requirements of 8 U.S.C. §1101(b)(1)(E), which of course she could not since she had been adopted after turning 16. In response, Lt. Col. Schreiber urged USCIS to consider his daughter’s petition under an alternative provision, §1101(b)(1)(C). Without any analysis or considering whether §1101(b)(1)(C) applied, USCIS denied the I-130 petition on June 10, 2016.

Lt. Col. Schreiber quickly appealed the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), asking them to consider his daughter’s eligibility as a child under 8 U.S.C. §1101(b) (1)(C). The Board dealt the Schreibers a blow on June 5, 2017, a day the family will never forget. In just four short paragraphs, the BIA abruptly denied Lt. Col. Schreiber’s appeal without any real analysis, arguing that his request to consider his daughter as a child under the section noted above doesn’t apply to adopted children. Hyebin was 17 years old when the adoption was legalized. This was the Schreibers’ last chance category under which to fight for their daughter’s citizenship – a child that Kansas and the Department of Defense acknowledge as the Schreibers’ legal daughter in every way.

“What Do We Do Now?” 

Having followed the rules and submitted the forms USCIS advised him to submit, Lt. Col. Schreiber turned to ICE asking, “What do we do now?” Even ICE officials didn’t have the answer and referred Lt. Col. Schreiber to Rekha Sharma-Crawford of Sharma-Crawford, Attorneys at Law, a non-citizen immigration law and litigation in Kansas City, who is representing the military family pro bono, refusing to bill a military officer of Lt. Col. Schreiber’s stature.

“Of all the immigration cases our firm takes on, this one makes me the angriest. Here we have a decorated, recently retired military officer whose family has grown closer and stronger even during Lt. Col. Schreiber’s long tours of duty as he led our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan,” says Sharma-Crawford. “He received orders to return to Afghanistan, once again, putting his life on the line for his country. He followed orders to report to the Middle East before filing the adoption, believing it could be finalized upon his return. But by the time he did, his daughter had turned 17, which has created this fiasco for his family. In hindsight, had he known, Lt. Col. Schreiber would have adopted Hyebin at 15.”

Sharma-Crawford has filed Hyebin’s case with the Federal District Court of Kansas, and it is pending before Judge Julie Robinson. “There is no timeline on when Judge Robinson will rule on it. She can take as much time as she wants. I don’t know of no other case such as this. Given the uniqueness of the issues raised, further litigation may come; we just don’t know which side may appeal. But we are very hopeful that in the end this family will find a just result,” explains Sharma-Crawford.

In the meantime, Hyebin continues excelling in her studies at the University of Kansas. On March 8th, Representatives Adam Smith (Wash.) and Chris Smith (N.J.), along with U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Mazie K. Hirono (Hawaii), introduced the bipartisan Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2018. The bill sponsored by Blunt, Hirono, Amy Klobuchar (MN) and Susan Collins (ME), if passed, would close a loophole in the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA), which has prevented internationally-adopted children, who are now adults, from receiving U.S. citizenship despite being raised by American parents. “We are so excited these Senators and Congressmen are taking steps to recognize that immigration laws have left many adopted children without a remedy,” says “Sharma-Crawford. “This bill is a start in the right direction to bring about much needed change.” 

A Parent’s Love for a Child Knows No Boundaries

Long ago, lawmakers addressed the definition of a child. They provided the greatest rationality for allowing Lt. Col. Schreiber’s petition under the U.S. immigration laws when they indicated in H.R. REP. NO. 85-1199, pt. 2 (1957) “in view of the clearly expressed legislative intention to keep together the family unit wherever possible, it would appear to be a desirable result, based upon legal and equitable considerations, to adopt a liberal construction. No harm could possibly result from such a construction, and the consequences would fulfill the humane considerations involved in keeping intact the family unit.”

Not filing Heybin’s adoption papers before leaving on his sixth tour of duty is Lt. Col. Schreiber’s greatest regret in life. If this matter of citizenship isn’t resolved, the Shreibers’ daughter is left stateless and at risk for deportation with no stable family to return to in South Korea.

Lt. Col. Schreiber has said that if Hyebin is not allowed to stay, he and his wife will leave the U.S. and return to South Korea with their daughter. Can you imagine? An American veteran, who has solemnly sworn to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and his wife forced to leave the country he served and loves because the daughter they love is not welcome here.



Senators Blunt, Hirono and Representatives Adam Smith, Chris Smith Introduce Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2018

WASHINGTON – Representatives Adam Smith (Wash.) and Chris Smith (N.J.), along with U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Mazie K. Hirono (Hawaii), today introduced the bipartisan Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2018. The legislation would close a loophole in the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA), which has prevented internationally-adopted children, who are now adults, from receiving U.S. citizenship despite being raised by American parents.

“I am proud to introduce the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2018 with a bicameral and bipartisan group of my colleagues,” said Adam Smith. “Closing the existing loopholes in the Child Citizenship Act will ensure international adoptees are treated equally under U.S. law. This bill will positively impact thousands of Americans, by granting citizenship they should have had in the first place and fostering stability in their lives and communities. I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this important legislation.”

“I have been working in adoption my entire career and I know that significant obstacles still persist in the daily lives of those who don’t benefit from the Child Citizenship Act purely because of their age, despite their having been legally adopted by U.S. citizens and raised in the United States,” said Chris Smith. “This important law will fix those obstacles for many residents here who meet its standards and who should be granted citizenship.”

“The Child Citizenship Act left thousands of internationally-adopted children, who are now adults, in an untenable position, facing everything from difficulty applying for a passport to possible deportation,” said Blunt. “These men and women were raised by American parents in the United States, and should have the same rights provided to other adoptees under the CCA. By fixing current law to meet the original goal of the CCA, we will help ensure these individuals have the security, stability, and opportunity their parents intended for them when they welcomed them into their families.”

“International adoptees who were adopted by American parents and raised as Americans should have the same rights of citizenship as biological children,” said Hirono. “I’m proud to work with Senator Blunt to close the loophole in the Child Citizenship Act and right this wrong.”

The CCA guarantees citizenship to most international adoptees, but the law only applies to adoptees who were under the age of 18 when the law took effect on February 27, 2001. The loophole denies citizenship to adoptees who were age 18 or over in February 2001, even though they were legally adopted as children by U.S. citizens and raised in the United States. The legislation introduced today fixes this problem by granting international adoptees citizenship unless they have been found guilty of a violent crime and have been deported.

Without citizenship, these international adoptees face many barriers, such as having trouble applying for a passport, license, or student financial aid. In some cases, they have been deported to the country in which they were born, where they may have no known family and little chance of succeeding.

In addition to the broad, bipartisan congressional support for the Adoptee Citizenship Act, the bill has garnered widespread praise among the nation’s leading adoption advocacy organizations.

“The ACA of 2018 aims to implement automatic citizenship to internationally adopted individuals who from the time of adoption into American families, have lived without citizenship privileges and remain unprotected without the benefits intended by US Adoption Law,” said Raana Stiefel and Joy Alessi, Co-Directors, Adoptee Rights Campaign. “Passing the ACA 2018 will establish equality among adoptees and their adoptive families, prevent deportation, and promote economic stability. Adoptees will gain access to healthcare, educational, and retirement benefits. Citizenship recognition will also foster emotional healing for transracial adoptees who despite their American families, are not accepted by society as Americans. We thank our co-sponsors for their ongoing efforts to secure the basic right of citizenship to all intercountry adoptees of US citizen parents and the assurance of family permanency.”

“The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute is thrilled this legislative fix introduced by congressional champions for vulnerable children offers a long-needed solution to adoptees whose adoptive parents did not know they needed to take additional steps to seek U.S. citizenship for their children after their adoption finalizations,” said Becky Weichhand, Executive Director, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. “This correction reflects the powerful American legal precedent of treating children who are adopted as equal to biological children. The adoption community is grateful to Senators Blunt and Hirono, and Congressmen Adam Smith and Chris Smith, for their leadership in understanding and addressing this problem for adoptees.

“35,000 international adoptee children of American parents have lived without their U.S. citizenship for too long due to a glitch in a law that was intended to help them,” said Pankit J. Doshi, President, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. “Congress now has a chance to correct this oversight and change lives. We thank Senator Blunt, Senator Hirono, Congressman Adam Smith and Congressman Chris Smith for their leadership and commitment to these adoptees. We urge all Member of Congress to support the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2018.”

“As part of our mission and vision, National Council For Adoption supports U.S. citizenship for all individuals legally adopted by U.S. citizens,” said Chuck Johnson, President and CEO, National Council For Adoption. “The Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2018 takes strides to recognize citizenship to the many adopted individuals not covered by the Citizenship Act of 2000 due to their birthdate or visa type. We thank the bill’s co-sponsors for introducing this legislation, and we urge Congress to grant internationally adopted children and adults the same citizenship rights as any child born to U.S. citizens.”