Planning for the future after the custody battle - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Posted by: George Metaxas, 5/13/04, 6:55 p.m.

Planning for the future after the custody battle

Jack and Casey He are currently in removal proceedings with U.S. Immigration. It's one of the steps to deportation. So far, the immigration courts have been willing to let them take care of their custody battle.

Jack and Casey He are still reeling from the judge's decision to terminate their parental rights, separate them forever from their first born child, 5 year old Anna Mae. It was totally unexpected. Jack He, biological father said, "We were even prepared to celebrate having a party to celebrate the child getting back to us a family reunion." The couple does plan to appeal the ruling, and they are optimistic they will prevail. But the Hes have another worry. Will they be deported? They are in this country illegally. Immigration attorney, James Irion, says the couple would have been offered humanitarian relief while their case was pending and during the trial. But he says appeals do not usually carry as much weight. "I don't think you are going to get humanitarian relief, humanitarian parole, for as long as an appeal will take." He adds that even though the He's three children were born in the U.S., and are citizens, it doesn't help their case. Jack He says he is concerned about deportation too, not because he doesn't want to go back to China but, "We prefer to go back to China. That's not a big issue, but we hoped to have our child with us to go back to China." Casey He says she can't imagine going back without all three of her children. "I love my daughter. I everyday, I want that she coming home with me, I love her." According to the judge's ruling, the Hes are not allowed to have any contact with Anna Mae. She has been cut out of their life. Attorneys for the He family say they will file the appeal within 30 days. We tried to talk with the Bakers, the family that plans to adopt Anna Mae He. They did not want to talk.

A court hearing Friday morning will decide who pays for Anna Mae He's independent representation during the trial. If the judge declares the child indigent or impoverished, the state would pay the more than 18-thousand dollar bill. If not, the birth parents, Jack and Casey He may be forced to pay the bill.

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