Washington: The Indian Embassy in the US has sought details from the United States Government on the issue of deportation of the Indian-American orphan Kairi Abha Shepherd, saying her case deserves to be treated with utmost sensitivity and compassion.
"We need to keep in mind the humanitarian dimension and tenets of universally accepted human rights," Indian Embassy spokesman Virander Paul said in a statement.
"The Embassy has seen reports concerning Kairi Shepherd, and has requested the US authorities for facts on this matter," the spokesman said referring to the media reports appearing in both India and the US.
"As reports indicate, Shepherd was brought to the United States after adoption, as a baby, and has known no other home," Paul said, responding to media questions in this regard.
Shepherd, 30, faces the prospect of being deported to India, with a local court refusing to intervene in a federal government's deportation move on the ground that she is a "criminal alien" based on her crime records. When she was 17, she was arrested and convicted of felony check forgery to fuel a drug habit.
"In March and May 2004, Shepherd was convicted in Utah of attempted forgery and third-degree forgery. After she served her time, the government initiated removal proceedings against her, alleging she was a criminal alien...based on the convictions," it said.
Shepherd has termed deportation as a "death sentence" for her. Her adoptive mother died when she was eight years of age, and she was thereafter cared for by guardians. There is no record of any effort by Shepherd or her guardians to petition for her citizenship," court documents say.
At an initial hearing before the Immigration Judge (IJ), government counsel noted that Shepherd's history suggested she might be able to prove she became a US citizen through adoption under the CCA's automatic citizenship provision.
This provision directs that "a child born outside of the United States automatically becomes a citizen of the United States" when three conditions are fulfilled: (1) At least one parent of the child is a citizen of the United States; (2) The child is under the age of eighteen years; and (3) The child is residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence.
And citizenship constitutes the "denial of an essential jurisdictional fact" in a deportation proceeding.
Her deportation proceedings would be carried out by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after it receives the necessary travel documents from the Indian Government.
"Before carrying out a deportation, ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) must first obtain a travel document to ensure the receiving country will admit the alien who is being returned," ICE spokesperson, Lori K Haley, said without commenting on the deportation case of Shepherd.
In her statement Kairi Shepherd did refer to that fact that a lot depends on the issuing of travel documents by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
"I especially want to thank the kind souls in India who are working tirelessly on my behalf and, in particular, the men and women in the Ministry of External Affairs who reportedly may deny the issuance of travel documents, thus preventing my forced departure from America.
"Their hearts must be filled with compassion and I truly appreciate their efforts as these efforts, quite literally, may save my life," Shepherd said in a statement.
Story first published:
May 26, 2012 09:30 IST