An Oregon high school graduate who was adopted as a young girl has found that she is literally stuck because she entered the country illegally as a toddler and the agency who handled her adoption failed to conclude the paperwork that would have also made her a U.S. citizen.
Blanca Catt, 19, who lives in the Portland metropolitan area, can't get a driver's license, board a plane, train or bus, join the Navy, or get college financial aid because of her limbo legal status.
"My family's going to San Diego and I'm not allowed to come with them because they're flying," Blanca said.
"I graduated from a [high school] class of 23 students and I'm pretty much the only one that stayed home," she said. "It's hard to watch them leave and I'm still stuck."
Blanca was smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico when she was 3, but she ended up in foster care after her biological mother abused her. At age 8, she was adopted by Lisa Catt and her husband Darren, who are both U.S. citizens but are now divorced.
Blanca should have been granted legal residency at the time of her adoption, but Oregon's Department of Human Services failed to complete the necessary paperwork, Catt's lawyer claims.
"Had the agency told Blanca's adopted parents, 'this is what you need to do' upon adoption, they would have done it," attorney Mark Kramer told ABCNews.com.
Instead of having a driver's license, flying to San Diego, going to college or shipping off with the Navy, Blanca lives in fear of being deported to Mexico if she commits even a minor legal infraction.
"It's hard because I have to constantly be on edge," she said. "You can't get caught jay walking or anything as small or ridiculous as that."
As is the case for many undocumented immigrants who have grown up in the U.S., going back to Mexico would be like moving to a foreign country. She doesn't speak Spanish or know any of her family members there. read full article