Woman Denied Custody of Son After Being Detained For Years

A Missouri municipal court ruled in favor of a local couple that was seeking full custody of a young boy brought to the United States by his mother as an infant. The decision came after the judge declared that the young boy’s mother, Encarnacion Bail Romero, abandoned her son. However, some argue that the court’s decision was unfair.

According to CNN, the five-year-old boy was brought to the United States by Romero from Guatemala when he was 6 months old. However, he was placed in custody of several caretakers after Romero was arrested and detained for her lack of U.S. citizenship following a raid that occurred at the poultry plant she was employed in. The boy eventually ended up in the arms of Seth and Melinda Moser, who have been caring for him since he was two.

Despite Romero’s pleas to reunite with her son, Judge David Jones ruled her an unfit parent and said that it would be unfair to send him back to his native country and separate him from the Mosers, who say that they are the only family he has ever known. Romero said that she was unable to contact the family due to her limited English skills. The last time Romero saw an image of her son was through a U.S. passport photograph from 2007.

Emily Butera of the Women’s Refugee Commission’s detention and asylum program told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Romero’s situation is the “byproduct of [a] fundamental gap in the immigration and welfare systems.”

The Mosers are very happy, but a legal expert close to Romero announced that Romero stated her plans to appeal the case shortly after the decision was made.