Court Rules Man in ICE Custody for Almost Two Years is US Citizen

Photo by Paul Weaver on Unsplash

A case of who's the daddy and what determines "family" may have kept a man from being deported.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement had reportedly detained a US citizen for nearly two years and tried to have him deported after completing a two-year sentence for his second drug possession conviction. .

Levy Jaen was born in Panama, although his parents were living in New York at the time. 

His mother was allegedly having an affair at the time and his original birth certificate lists another man, but the man he considered his father later gained US citizenship.

Jaen came to the U.S. in 1988 at the age of 15 on a visa and had lived in New York ever since, assuming he earned American citizenship through his father. 

The Hill reports:

His attorneys argued that he was born into a marriage where one of his parents — the man he always considered to be his father — was a U.S. citizen, so he was as well.

ICE attorneys said that his father could not pass on citizenship to Jaen without a biological relationship.

“It is really striking for the government to be running around telling marital families that ‘no, this isn’t really a family,’ ” Ian Samuel, one of his attorneys, said. “That offends some of the oldest instincts we have as a civilized people.”

The court issued its written opinion last week, arguing that the country has long recognized that a child born into a legally married couple is considered the child of the husband. 

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