The state supreme court is being asked to decide if the American-citizen child of an illegal immigrant can be considered “abandoned” if the child is in the care of the woman’s relatives while she is in jail. 

Encarnacion Maria Bail Romero is  from Guatemala.  She’s been deported once, served two years in prison for identity theft, then ordered deported again.  She asked her brother to take care of her son while she was in prison. He asked her sister to do it. The sister asked a minister’s family to babysit. The minister contacted another family that soon started adoption proceedings.  The adoption petition she was given was in English, which she does not speak.

Judge Richard Teitelman a person does not “give up every fundamental right to be a parent” just because that person is in jail. He calls the case “a tragedy.” ..

The boy is four years old.  He was seven months old when his mother went to prison.                                   

Her  lawyer argues that fourteen mistakes were made in the case, including that court made mistakes in terminating her parental rights because she had not abandoned her child. He also says the courts ignored laws on private adoptions. 

A circuit judge in Jasper County has upheld the adoption. A state appeals court has reversed that decision. 

The Supreme court could take several weeks to rule.

 Listen to the entire Supreme Court hearing 53:15 mp3