Essential reporting in volatile times.

Not a Subscriber yet? Click here to take advantage of All access digital limited time offer $8.99 for your first 3 months.

Interested in Donating? Click #ISupportLocal for more information on supporting local journalism.

COVID-19 has taken over our lives. In the midst of this all-encompassing pandemic, it is easy to forget that there are other issues that deserve our nation’s attention.

An updated workable immigration plan has eluded recent presidents. Now, President Trump seeks extensive immigration limits and is using the pandemic to push extreme restrictions. America needs a rational policy, including DACA, to determine who may work, live and become citizens here. In making harsh anti-immigrant decisions, the president supports some cruel and foolish immigration policies.

The situation of Rebecca Trimble, a 30-year-old mother of two young children and married to a dentist working in an underserved rural Alaska community to pay off his student loans, is a case in point. Rebecca’s story, reported by Ash Adams in the New York Times, should anger Americans not only because of cruelty and foolishness by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) and related agencies, but also because of wasted taxpayer monies.

Rebecca, born in Mexico, was adopted at three days of age by a childless couple from Oregon. Learning that a baby was available, the parents drove to Mexico and returned home with her through a legal U.S. Customs entry point. As promised, a birth certificate for Rebecca listing her adoptive parents as her parents soon arrived from Mexico. The parents believed that was all the documentation needed but did get her a Social Security number.

When a high school teacher encouraged the class to register and vote in the 2008 presidential election, Rebecca did so. Planning her wedding and a trip to Canada, in 2012, Rebecca discovered she needed further proof of her American citizenship. Apparently, when she was three days old, her parents should have obtained paperwork from a Mexican judge and an immigrant visa at the U.S. consulate.

As Rebecca married a man serving in the military, she should have been eligible for an exemption to stay in the U.S. while her citizenship validity was pending. “In February 2016, the government denied Ms. Trimble the exemption on the grounds that such a remedy is available only to those who have illegally entered the country. Ms. Trimble’s entry had not been unlawful, the agency said, because she had been waved through by a border agent.” Unbelievable!

To add more foolishness to our government’s decision to not let Rebecca stay in the U.S., it noted that she had “illegally registered to vote and that she had then voted in a general election that November.”

In 2001, recognizing problematic legal issues for many foreign adoptees, Congress passed a rule allowing flexibility for foreign adoptees under age 18. That doesn’t work for Rebecca. Now, Rebecca’s best hope is that both Alaska senators have introduced a private bill to let her stay in the U.S. The problem is that such a bill would have to pass the dysfunctional Senate and House. The U.S. has deported other adoptees totally unfamiliar with their birth countries, most often because of criminal behaviors. One deported Korean adoptee committed suicide.

America desperately needs sensible, not impulsive, immigration regulations. Meanwhile, such rules should not be cruel and foolish and ruin lives of good people whose only failing was to have adoptive parents who didn’t fully understand international adoption procedures three decades ago.

Diane W. Mufson is a retired psychologist. Her email is dwmufson@comcast.net