Since she left her native country of Mexico as a child in 1998, Rocio Gonzalez-Martinez has never been back.
She was raised in Utah by her Mexican-born aunt and U.S. citizen uncle, Santa Clara resident Lyle Dahlberg.
But while Gonzalez-Martinez, 22, calls her uncle the “only father I have,” the federal government claimed Dahlberg’s adoption of her a few years ago came too late. It began proceedings to deport her.
The decision didn’t sit well with U.S. District Judge Bruce Jenkins, who issued a sharply worded ruling last week that a blanket policy has no place in adoptions.
“Not all cases are identical,” he wrote. “A black-and-white rule is unfair to those who have a meritorious argument.”
Jenkins upheld a state court judge who retroactively dated Gonzalez-Martinez’s adoption to the day after Dahlberg married her aunt in 1998 and told immigration officials to issue a visa that will allow the young woman to remain in the United States.
“Ordering a child, even though now mature, legally adopted and acculturated in the United States, to be deported from the United States is far too Draconian an outcome,” the judge wrote in a decision issued Tuesday.