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Girl Going To Mexico To Live With Felon Father Raises Questions

OPB | Feb. 25, 2014 12:45 p.m. | Updated: Feb. 25, 2014 3:28 p.m.

Kerrie Lechuga with her six-year-old granddaughter at her West Salem area home.

Kerrie Lechuga with her six-year-old granddaughter at her West Salem area home.

Timothy J. Gonzalez / Statesman Journal

Statesman Journal reporter Carol McAlice Currie found herself in an unusual position recently. A woman named Kerrie Lechuga came to her with piles of documents related to her six-year-old granddaughter in foster care. Lechuga said the girl was being deported to Mexico to live with her biological father — a felon with a history of violence. She begged Currie to look into the matter. Currie contacted authorities to find out that the American-born girl was indeed being sent from an Oregon foster home to live with her biological father in Mexico, but that since no immigration agencies were involved, it was not considered a deportation. But as Currie wrote in her feature story, for those involved directly affected, that feels like a distinction without a difference.

Currie has other reporting hurdles, since the child welfare officials are bound by privacy concerns and were not able to comment on the details of particular cases. However, through other sources Currie was able to confirm disturbing details about the biological father’s past and — although some significant information gaps remain — the story seems to raise issues about the Department of Human Services policy of prioritizing the biological parent-child relationship and what exceptions exist.

What questions does this story raise for you?

GUEST:

  • Carol McAlice Currie: Statesman Journal reporter and capitol bureau chief

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