Adopting Out the Children of Illegal Immigrants: The Trial Starts

Today the trial commenced in the adoption battle over Encarnacion Bail Romero's son, adopted out over her objections while she was jailed for immigration charges (I've blogged about the case here and here and here and here). 

The issue is larger than this one case, as is made clear by Michelle Brane, director of Detention and Asylum at the Women's Refugee Commission:
"The real issue is if the parent wants to be deported with their child, what right do we have to say 'No, you cannot have custody of your child?' Romero's intent now is to go back home with Carlos, but he has already started a life here with another family...This is the kind of tragedy that needs to be avoided and can be avoided by doing the right thing early on and giving people access to the courts and to their children early on."
Bail Romero's parental rights were terminated by a Missouri trial judge at least in part on the grounds that she abandoned her child because she didn't make contact with him while she was in jail.  The judge apparantly doesn't recognize how difficult that could be:
Without any policies in place to regulate the care of U.S. citizen children while their parents are detained, immigrant parents are unable to attend court hearings, contact caseworkers, complete parenting classes or take any of the necessary steps to meet the strict timelines dictated by juvenile courts.

"And the result is that nobody is really recognizing that there's a parent there trying desperately to communicate that they want to still be involved with their child," said Nina Rabin, an immigration attorney with the University of Arizona's Immigration Law and Policy Institute.

It's those parents that are slipping through the cracks between two huge bureaucracies, she said.
There are also some huge factual issues unresolved in the first hearing where the judge found that the mother had abandoned the child -- she didn't attend, she didn't testify, her attorney was paid by the adoptive parents. . . .  So it will be interesting to see -- factually -- what develops in this new trial.