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Woman thought she was citizen, now facing deportation

It may surprise you how many people in Texas think they have American citizenship when they in fact are illegal immigrants. One woman in Missouri was certainly shocked after she was placed in deportation detention because of a criminal conviction. The woman was apparently unaware that she never obtained American citizenship, despite the fact that she had a Social Security card and military ID.

The woman reportedly came to the U.S. with her mother and stepfather, who was in the military. She always assumed that she was a citizen because her mother married the man while her child was still very young. The defendant in this case is facing the threat of deportation back to Thailand, a country she has not visited since she was 10 years old. Further, the woman does not speak the language.

Official reports show that the woman was convicted of a petty crime after stealing from vending machines at a CiCi's Pizza where she worked. The woman was desperate for money because her husband had injured his legs in a work accident; that injury required a dozen surgeries. In that case, the woman was required to repay the money and serve a five-year probation term.

After she was arrested for committing that crime, the woman was taken into custody because of her immigration status. It is possible that she could be deported within the month. The woman in this case is the mother of one military member, and her 18-year-old son has enlisted to join after high school graduation. The woman has clearly contributed to the U.S. culture by raising two sons to serve in the military, and she has been a tax-paying resident for decades. She should not be unfairly targeted because of actions she could not control that occurred during her youth.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Arrest may prompt deportation for Missouri woman who didn't know she wasn't a citizen" Associated Press, May. 14, 2014

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