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Friday, February 23, 2024

Indiana mom Rebekah Hubley fights to keep her adopted, disabled son Jonas from being deported

An Indiana mother says her fight to get citizenship for her son, an autistic, blind child she adopted from Haiti has been a “long and draining process” made more complicated by a recent denial.

Rebekah Hubley told CBS News affiliate WANE that she adopted Jonas, who is now 17, in 2010. In her most recent effort, she said that she sent the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services the paperwork for a “Petition for an Alien Relative.” Hubley told WANE that the letter of denial from the agency said she did not have all the required education records. Hubley said that she sent the information.

“He is a Hubley,” Hubley told local news station WPTA. “We have adopted him. He has an Indiana birth certificate and parts of the government have recognized everything but then immigration won’t.”

In a Facebook postoutlining the family’s situation, Hubley said she believes that case officers did not fully review the paperwork she submitted.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told CBS News they do not comment about individual cases, but said in part that the agency “adjudicates each request for immigration benefits fairly, humanely and efficiently on a case-by-case basis.”

Hubley said in a GoFundMe page raising money for legal expenses that her son is blind, autistic and has cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder. She described him as “medically complex” and requiring “round-the-clock care.” He came to the U.S. in 2008 on a medical visa from Haiti, Hubley said, and he was legally adopted in 2010 following the earthquake in Haiti. The devastating earthquake killed hundreds of thousands of people and left 1.5 million homeless. Hubley said the decision to adopt him came because “of the instability in Haiti.”

As a result of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services denial, Jonas will have to either be deported or voluntarily return to Haiti. Hubley said the family has 33 days after the denial to comply.

“This is not fair,” Hubley told WPTA. “This should be illegal. Like, you are telling me my son is illegal, how is this legal to deport a completely dependent child to a country that you have deemed unsafe?”

In addition to the GoFundMe, Hubley has posted widely about the situation on social media. She told WANE that she has started a “JusticeforJonas” hashtag on social media in the hopes of garnering more attention. Hubley also told WANE that she reached out to the White House, President Joe Biden, her congressman Rep. Jim Banks, and other legislators.

Banks’ office told WANE that they are aware of the case and said that they are “working to help the family however we can.” Banks’ office said they could not comment further because of privacy laws.

“I’m not just fighting for Jonas this year, I am fighting for all the other Jonas’ that are going through this same situation,” Hubley told WANE. “The ones that are cognitively understanding what is going on and terrified.”

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