Photo: Tara Ammons Cohen
This week a federal immigration judge has ordered a 38 year old woman who was adopted from a Mexican orphanage by US citizens at 5 months old to be deported back to Mexico.
Tara Ammons Cohen, who has been in the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma since July 8, 2009, has lost her argument that she would be in danger if she were deported to Mexico. Immigration laws do not recognize adoption as a special circumstance in deportations.
After bring the 5-month-old baby to the US, Cohen’s parents failed to get her nationalized. By the time that Cohen tried to straighten out her citizenship issues, she was already in trouble with the law.
The married mother of two was arrested in 2008 on theft and drug trafficking charges. She pleaded guilty to stealing a purse containing two bottles of prescription pills and to the trafficking charge, though she never sold a pill.
Cohen’s legal challenge pointed out that her particular circumstances – white, a woman, poor – would make her like an immigrant and subject to abuse and violence in Mexico. She also suffers from a bipolar disorder and has been diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder stemming from an assault when she was a teenager.
“Six out of 10 migrant women and girls experience sexual violence in Mexico and all such women face this serious risk of trafficking,” Her attorney said in his legal brief. “... Kidnapping of migrants for ransom reached almost 10,000 in 2009. ...“Additionally, there is documentary evidence that (Cohen) would be persecuted in Mexico on account of her mental illness.”
Judge Tammy Fitting’s ruling essentially denied every aspect of Cohen’s appeal except to agree that a drug conviction that led to her deportation problem was not a serious crime requiring her automatic removal.