Sometimes you read a story and you just have to wonder how things got this far.

An article in today’s Oregonian
tells us the story of a 19-year-old Vancouver WA girl named Blanca Catt.  Despite having a hard start in life, she had become a success story of a bad situation turning out well.  But a mistake many years ago could cause a problem now.

I do recomment reading the article, but to make it short, as an infant, Blanca was abused by her immigrant parents and taken into custody by the State of Oregon.  She was adopted by a local family who has raised her since.  At the time of the adoption, the parents and the workers at the Oregon Department of Human Services both thought that her citizenship paperwork had been filed properly and that she was now a citizen, as is routine in adoptions.

In hte meantime, she is raised in Portland and in Vancouver.  She has grown up and been raised like every other American kid in her neighborhood.  She has done well, and it is time to go out into the world as an adult.  When she applied for financial aid to attend college, it came out that her paperwork had not been actually processed correctly when she was young, and was not officially a US Citizen.

So the federal Citizenship and Immigration Services is threatening to deport her to her birth-parents country, Mexico.  While Blanca was born in Mexico, she was never there since being a few months old.  She has no connections there.  She speaks very little Spanish, just what she picked up in high school.  But the US INS says that if she doesn’t go to Mexico immediately, she will be sent there and not allowed to return to the US for at least ten years.

This is simply a travesty.  Certainly, there is a need to enforce our immigration laws.  This is not really a case of someone trying to get to the US illegally, though.  This is the story of someone who had truly been led to believe that she was a US citizen, had been raised as such, and had little reason to believe otherwise.

So, the parents are suing the State of Oregon for a large sum of money.  Blanca is wondering how her life will change.  All of the parties are entrenching for a fight.  The answer seems so simple. though.

It is reprehensible that there are some in our community who are treating Blanca Catt as an outsider who doesn’t belong here.  She is as much an American as most of us are.  In most cases, our ancestors immigrated to the US a relatively few number of generations ago.  More importantly, this is all simply a paperwork error.  It should be an easy fix.

If there was ever a time or place to simply push the paperwork through and do the right thing, this is it.  We are not trying to sneak someone into the country, the state believed that she had been processed properly.  She was raised with everyone “knowing” that she was a naturalized American citizen.  If the Immigration Service cannot make what should be an automatic decision for them, whether it be for legal or political reasons, then this is one of those situations where one of our US Representatives should step in and make it right.  There IS an easy solution for this, and the proper government official should make this right, right now.

Is this not a great example of why our elected representatives have offices to serve the public?  It is time for them to serve Blanca Catt.