Category Archives: Editorial

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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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.



Civil Rights Activist and Lawyer, Valarie Kaur, to Make Special Appearance at One Community: Together in Solidarity

Kaur to appear at a collaboration of communities, leadership and faith aimed at overcoming the hate, violence and division pervasive in our neighborhoods.

Kansas City, MO (April 19, 2017) – Valarie Kaur, civil rights activist and lawyer, makes a special appearance at the One Community: Together in Solidarity event on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at the Rolling Hills Presbyterian Church located at 9300 Nall Avenue in Overland Park, Kansas. This event, in collaboration with various communities, leadership and faiths, is being spearheaded by a local attorney who felt compelled to act in the face of the Olathe shooting tragedy.

“After the shooting, I felt like the community needed to find a way back to center. There needed to be a way to unify communities across the metro so that everyone felt safer. The current climate in the U.S. has caused many communities to be fearful and feel vulnerable,” explains Rekha Sharma-Crawford a principal in Sharma-Crawford Attorneys at Law. “However, information alone isn’t enough to translate into action. Events like One Community: Together in Solidarity are important to help draw communities together with faith leaders, government leaders and law enforcement in support of one another, which can help overcome the feelings of isolation and create stronger bonds between communities; something that only makes us all safer.”

One of the highlights of the event is a special appearance by the inspirational Valarie Kaur, who will be speaking at length, and closing the program with a question and answer session. Kaur is a well-known civil rights activist, lawyer, award-winning filmmaker, media commentator, educator, entrepreneur, author and Sikh American justice leader. Her new venture, the Revolutionary Love Project at the University of Southern California, champions the ethic of love in an era of rage. She can be followed on Twitter under @valariekaur.

“Fashioned after the “Not In Our Town” model, One Community: Together in Solidarity is a program that brings together so many amazing organizations like the American Friends Service Committee, Kansas City Coalition Against Hate Violence, Immigrant Justice Advocacy Movement, and SevenDays to name just a few. It also brings leadership from governmental agencies in Overland Park, Merriam, Leawood, and even the Consulate of Mexico in Kansas City. Representatives from many faiths will also be present to stand together in unity. Everyone has been so generous with their time, space and knowledge in helping make this happen. We hope to help heal the KC metro after this tragedy and show the world of the resilience and community that exists in the middle of the United States. It is hoped that neighbors and other local residents will attend events like One Community: Together in Solidarity and join a movement to stand together against the hate and violence that divides us,” says Sharma-Crawford. As a way to visually show solidarity, ribbons will be handed out at the event and people will be encouraged to display these ribbons across the metro as a sign of solidarity.

The doors open for One Community: Together in Solidarity at 6:00 p.m. and the program begins promptly at 6:30 p.m., lasting until 9:00 p.m. The event is free, but registration is requested.

Trump Administration Displays Disregard for Families and American Due Process with Abrupt Late Night Deportation of Indiana Father

 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Beristain Family is distraught this morning as the U.S. government conducted a middle-of-the-night deportation of Roberto Beristain, an Indiana father and businessman whose detention by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in February during a check-in appointment attracted broad attention by the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, South Bend Tribune, and other national news media.

Roberto had been held at detention facilities in Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas. He argued that his removal order was legally improper, and had asked an immigration judge to rescind the removal order, and to stay removal. He had also filed a habeas corpus petition, likewise seeking to redress the wrongs resulting from a void order. Before either judge had chance to rule, in a highly unusual move, ICE agents rushed him 90 miles from the detention facility to the U.S.-Mexico border at Juarez, Mexico, as the sole detainee being moved. None of his attorneys were notified, as required, of his removal and they only learned about it based on a late night, frantic call from Roberto’s wife, who indicated Roberto was in Juarez already.

“They suddenly told me it was time to go,” Roberto said. “They told me to get my stuff, they put me in the back of a van, and sped toward the border. They took me to another facility while in transport to sign paperwork. I asked to speak with my attorney, but was told there wasn’t time for that. At around 10:00 pm, I was dropped off at the Mexico-U.S. Border and walked into Mexico.”

“What is most distressing here is that Roberto had potential avenues for relief pending before the Immigration Court,” said Adam M. Ansari, managing partner, Ansari & Shapiro LLC, who
has been advocating on behalf of the family since Roberto was detained on February 6, 2017. “This was an attempt to short-circuit the justice process by intentionally removing him before a judge could stop his removal. We were in communication with the government regarding those motions – what they failed to mention was that they were in the process of throwing him out of the country.”

Jessica K. Miles of Noble & Vrapi, Roberto’s counsel in New Mexico and Texas remarked, “the manner and speed with which Roberto was moved from New Mexico to Texas and then deported to Mexico despite several pending motions, coupled with misleading statements from ICE leadership about when he would be removed show a blatant disregard for his procedural rights.”

Chuck Roth, director of litigation of the National Immigrant Justice Center said, “the Trump administration treats noncitizens like Roberto like lawbreakers, even when they do everything in their power to obey the law, but the law was broken in this case by the immigration authorities. ICE’s actions have torn a father from his three U.S. citizen children, a husband from his citizen spouse, and a business owner from his American employees. And all based on a removal order which wasn’t proper in the first place. I’m not sure which is more shocking, the disregard for the harm done wantonly to families and communities, or the lengths to which the government is now willing to go to deport as many people as possible without regard to a person’s right to a fair hearing.”

“The conduct of ICE in perpetuating a continuing due process violation at all costs, is a threat to core American values and should not be overlooked or brushed aside causally,” said Rekha Sharma-Crawford, of Sharma-Crawford, who drafted the Emergency Motion to Rescind that is pending in Batavia, New York.

Attorneys for Beristain, which include multiple law firms and organizations across the country, have stated they will continue to fight on behalf of Roberto, and will pursue all available legal and political remedies to bring Roberto back and correct the mistake immigration officials created nearly two decades ago.