Amy and Marco Becerra are both U.S. citizens, and while they were living in Marco's native Peru — he has dual citizenship — they fostered then adopted an infant girl, Angela. They decided to move back to Colorado so Angela could "have the opportunities that are available here, the education that’s available here," Amy Becerra told Colorado's KDVR News. But because it was a domestic adoption, not an international adoption, they had trouble getting Angela the proper immigration papers. They brought her to Colorado on a tourist visa, which expires at the end of August, and last week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denied Angela's application for citizenship.
"I don’t know what it takes to reopen a case," Amy Becerra told KDVR. The appeals process will take longer than a few weeks, and "if she expires her visa, she is officially here as an undocumented alien, and legally is at risk for deportation even though both her parents are citizens." Their congressman, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), saw the news report and agreed. "I mean this is beyond belief," he told KDVR, adding that his office is working with the Denver USCIS office to expedite a new process for the Becerras. "We believe there were errors in that process," he added, calling their case a symptom of America's "broken immigration system."
David Bier, an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute, tells Reason he thinks the problem is that the Becerras brought Angela to the country on a tourist visa, and immigration lawyer Matt Kolken added that he thinks the Becerras can get Angela a green card from inside the U.S. "Just because she becomes an undocumented immigrant for a temporary period, if you're a minor and you're the child of U.S. citizens you should be able to get a green card and get this fixed," Bier adds. Peter Weber