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Asylum claim causes custody confusion

Generally, our blog tries to provide you with broad topics within immigration law, but this week's story is a little different. Instead of providing information to which many people may be able to relate, we bring you a relatively unique story that highlights just how complex immigration and asylum law can be. While this particular situation may not apply to everyone, it does show how difficult it can be to try to handle immigration problems without a lawyer.

In this week's story, three minor children were brought to the United States from Mexico by an aunt and uncle. It appears the children's mother had not consented to the aunt and uncle taking custody of the children and requested the children back under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Though a district court initially ordered the children removed to Mexico, the judge stayed his or her ruling pending appeal. Shortly after the decision was stayed, the children were granted asylum, prompting a federal appeals court to vacate the removal order. The court has held that the fact the children have been granted asylum must be considered when looking at whether the children should be returned to their mother.

While immigration and asylum law fall outside of the run-of-the-mill civil and criminal matters before courts, immigration decisions can greatly affect civil and criminal cases. Moreover, these other legal issues can influence immigration issues, too. Immigration law may appear straight-forward on first blush, but knowing that outside factors, such as child custody, can influence how an immigration officer will process an application makes it immensely more difficult.

And, the smallest mistake could mean being forced back to your home country and barred from returning to the U.S.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Asylum Rattles Cross-Border Custody Battle," Kevin Lessmiller, June 11, 2014

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