Blanca Starr’s plight

By Jayson Jacoby August 27, 2012 12:58 pm

Editorial from The (Bend) Bulletin:

The debate about illegal immigration pushes many buttons so easily — financial insecurity, race, freedom. Finding the right immigration policy is not so easy.

Blanca Starr’s care should drive just about everyone to question where they stand.

Like most teenagers, she went to get her driver’s permit. It was only then Starr found out she was in this country illegally.

She was born in Mexico in 1990. In 1993, her birth parents or other relatives brought her illegally to the United States.

Starr was abused by her mother, according to court records. The Oregon Department of Human Services stepped in.

The agency put Starr in the custody of a foster family. The agency took steps to get her citizenship and made mistakes. The foster family asked the DHS to finalize her citizenship process before adopting her. The agency didn’t do it.

The DHS also told the foster family that once Starr was adopted she would automatically get citizenship because her foster parents were citizens. That was wrong.

Now, Starr can stay until 2014 under a temporary visa, which she qualified for because she had been abused.

An immigration attorney advised her family that what Starr would likely have to do is leave the United States and stay away for 10 years, and then she could get a visa.

She married an American citizen. He apparently can’t help her become a permanent resident because of that 10-year ban, Starr told The Oregonian. There is a possibility that she may be able to apply for permanent residency under the U visa, that paper said.

Her family sued the DHS for $1 million, arguing that the agency mistakenly told them that she would automatically become a U.S. citizen.

The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled this month that her lawsuit can proceed.

The money would be nice for all the reasons $1 million more would be nice, but winning any lawsuit against the DHS doesn’t solve much.

Congress shouldn’t be crafting legislative solutions driven by one person’s situation. Immigration reform needs to be more comprehensive.

In 2007, President George W. Bush and Sen. Ted Kennedy managed to form an alliance on immigration reform. They called for strict enforcement of laws against hiring illegal immigrants, a “guest worker” program and a program by which people who are living in the United States could become legal. Starr’s limbo should be another push for Congress to act on a reform like that.