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Virginia Family Fights Deportation of Legally Adopted Immigrant

First Posted: Mar 08, 2016 04:38 PM EST
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A Virginia family is desperately seeking to bring back a Colombian woman they legally adopted in the U.S. as a child. The woman was recently separated from her young son when she was deported back to her homeland.

It's been five years now since Susan Hill was sent back to Colombia, and her older brother, Jacob, is still trying to figure out what happened, according to Newsplex.

"It was technically her home country, but she didn't know the language, she didn't have any clothes except the clothes on her back," Jacob Hill said. "She didn't have any money. She didn't have a single person in Colombia."

In the wake of the family's ordeal, some now see their plight as a classic study on how maddening the intersection between international adoptions and immigration law can be.

Siblings Born to Drug Addicted Parents

Along with their three sisters, Jacob and Susan Hill were born in Colombia to drug addicts, who abandoned them before reportedly being sent to jail. The siblings were placed in a foster home nearly three decades ago.

In 1989, Albemarle County residents Caren and Gray Hill became involved by adopting all five of the children in Colombia and moving them to live with their nine other children in their six-bedroom home in Virginia.

"I've always wanted to have just a bunch of kids," said Caren Hill, who had previously adopted five children from Bolivia with her husband.

In time, the Colombian children were given new American names and were legally classified as residents. But the Hills now admit the job of caring for 14 children left them so overwhelmed they didn't completely finalize the adoptions here in the U.S. until six years later in 1995.

At that point, they only adopted four of the Colombian siblings. Word is Susan had gone to live with another family, and there was a possibility she would permanently stay apart from the Hills, prompting the delay finalizing her adoption.

Susan eventually ended up back in a series of group homes, where she began to run into trouble and was convicted of several nonviolent offenses. Her downward spiral was cemented when she signed one of her sister's names to a traffic ticket for driving without a license.

Jailed Trying to Return

Susan Hill was then deported back to Colombia in 2011, forcing her to leave behind her infant son. She now sits in a Houston prison, after being nabbed late last year trying to sneak back into the country.

"I thought it was some kind of joke," she said of her first time hearing talk of being deported. "I was like, 'What is an alien number? I have a social security number. I never heard of an alien number.'"

As she sits in limbo, her brother vows that he won't stop fighting for her and her right to be here in the U.S.

"She's got the same DNA as I have, and I hope that she would do that for me," he said. "I know she would do that for me."

Immigration has become a major issue in the 2016 presidential race, with leading Republican candidate Donald Trump vowing to deport all 11 million immigrants.

Meanwhile, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has pledged to push reform legislation over her first 100 days in office if she emerges as the winner in November's general election.

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