AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A little girl from Peru who was denied citizenship and faced deportation may now have a chance to stay in the United States.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services denied citizenship for Angela Becerra because her adoption had only been finalized for a month. The law requires two years.
After meeting with Congressman Mike Coffman, a Republican representing Colorado’s 6th Congressional District, however, the agency reversed its decision.
“I think they just reversed themselves due to pressure,” Coffman said.
Angela Becerra, 4, was sick when she was born and abandoned in Peru.
Now, the girl is thriving, thanks to Amy and Marco Becerra’s care since she was 12 days old.
It took the couple nearly three years to legally adopt Angela through the Peruvian courts.
“That wasn’t why we went to Peru, but we were in the right place at the right time,” Amy said.
Now back in her home state of Colorado, Amy found out last week that her application for Angela’s citizenship had been denied.
“The system is broken for everyone. I mean, no one can believe that this would happen to two citizens,” said Amy.
It left her and Marco two options. One option was to move back to Angela’s native country. The other was to keep her in the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant.
“It was inconceivable to me because we had official court documents,” Amy said. “We weren’t a couple that met a baby and sat down at a diner and signed a napkin.”
A citizenship and immigration services spokesperson said in a statement, “Given the complexities of this case and after additional review of foreign legal documents … we decided to reopen the petition this past Tuesday and subsequently approved it Wednesday afternoon.”
Now applying for a second time, the Becerra family is hoping that Angela can become a naturalized citizen in the country she now calls home.
“It has to go beyond bureaucratic rules and walls, and there has to be a human component to this,” Coffman said of the process.
The Becerras filled out the second set of lengthy citizenship paperwork on Thursday. Coffman is paying the $1,040 in fees out of his own pocket. An office spokesperson said that a decision could take nine to 11 months.