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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Govt may help Kairi Shepherd

Cheta Chauhan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 20, 2012
First Published: 19:05 IST(20/5/2012) | Last Updated: 19:07 IST(20/5/2012)

The Indian government may provide help to 30-year-old Kairi Shepherd, who faces threat of deporation from United States after a local court rejected her claim for residency.

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Kairi Shepherd was just three months old when she adopted by Erlene Shepherd from an orphanage in India, the youngest of her eight adopted kids.Erlene died when Kairi was eight years old, and she had not acquired US citizenship. At 17, Kairi was convicted of forging cheques to pay for her drug habit.

At 30, she faces risk of being deported back to India as US federal court recently upheld the government’s right to deport Kairi as she had failed to qualify for citizenship by a few months under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

Until 2000, parents were simply required to file a form before the adopted child turned 21 to claim citizenship. Apparently, Erlene had filled Kairi’s form, but failed to file it before her death.

After 2001, legal international adoptions automatically conferred citizenship on children adopted by US citizens. Kairi, however, missed the deadline by turning 21 a few months before the new law came into force.

With her case been highlighted by Hindustan Times. the ministry of external affairs has asked Indian Embassy in Washington to provide details about her case. "We have sought more details about the case," an external affairs ministry official said.

The Central Adoption Resource Authority, mandated to look into all cases of inter country, adoption has also asked MEA's intervention. The authority, however, said it can't do much as Kairi Shepherd's adoption took place before it came into being.

"It is sad that CARA has washed its hand-off her (Shepherd's case)," said Anjali Pawar, director of Pune based NGo Sakee, which has filed a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court against inter country adoption.

Although Kairi is out of jail but is in hiding fearing deportation by US Immigration agencies. Her biggest fear is that if she lands in India there will be no one to take care of her. Kairi is suffering from multiple scolerisis.

She, however, hopes that the Indian government will help as she has turned into a "global orphan". The US has refused to acknowledge her even though she has been staying there for almost thirty years and here in India, it will be difficult to trace her roots. "I have no documents to trace my Indian parents," Shepherd had told Pawar.

Shepherd's is not the only case of deportation of adopted Indian kid. In 2008, Jennifer Haynes, 32, who was sexually abused by her adopted father, was deported after being caught with drugs.


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