Photo: Mother in Mexico Reunited with U.S. Citizen Children After 10-month Custody Battle
A Mexican mother is relieved to be with her five children once again after she spent 10 months without them when she was caught trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.
On August 29, 2010, Antonia Campos was detained while crossing the Rio Grande attempting to return to the U.S., which she had called home for 17 years. Campos and her children had traveled to Mexico to visit her ailing father. The children, U.S. citizens, returned ahead of her, but when Campos took her trip she was arrested.
After she was detained, Child Protective Services (CPS) went to Campos’ home where the children – age 7-15 – were unattended, and put into foster homes, as they have no immediate relatives in the United States.
For the last 10 months, Campos, who was sent back to Mexico, had been fighting to have her children placed in her custody once more.
Thursday, she got her wish when Richard Deck, the El Paso County attorney representing CPS, asked that the case against Campos be dismissed.
Campos’ attorney, Maria Ramirez, issued a release stating her client had found a home in Juarez and was working as a medical aide for a disabled person.
The mother said that during the trial Family Integral Development office in Juárez did a through investigation of Campos’ new home in Mexico. They found the home acceptable and in a report to CPS stated it was appropriate for the children.
“All we care about is the safety of the children,” said Deck, who made it a point to say that the children were neglected for two weeks after the mother was arrested.
Children’s Court Judge Oscar G. Gabaldon Jr., who presided over the case, said he saw enough evidence that Campos is willing and capable of providing for her children. He stated that throughout the proceedings, Campos “remained in contact with the children and showed unconditional commitment by being proactive.”
“Government intervention in the life of parents and children is only to ensure that children are safe from the risk of harm,” Gabaldon said. “The parental presumption is that the best interest of children is with their parents.”
Ramirez said, “We’re very happy. My client is a very good mother, and they are good children because of her.”