Every now and then I come across an article that seems to pack in as many social issues as possible. This particular story on the impending deportation of a 25-year-old Indian man in Utah has several interesting angles on the subject’s predicament. International adoptee? Check. Religious minority? Check. Juvenile delinquent? Check. Confused young person who made some really bad decisions and tried to play the victim card? Errr, check, check, and uh, check.
Samuel Jonathan Schultz was born in India and adopted at age 3 by a Utah woman. His adopted mother apparently failed to complete his application for US citizenship upon his arrival to the US.
As a teenager, Schultz got in trouble with the law on numerous occasions. At the age of 18, he was arrested for driving a stolen vehicle (he claims that his friend stole the car and that he was simply on his way to return it). A year later, he was convicted again for car theft. Then there are the offenses that he committed as a juvenile:
Samuel Schultz has a juvenile record of theft offenses and engaged in altercations as a teen with his stepfather that occasionally required police intervention.
Because of his two adult convictions and his citizenship status, immigration authorities at Utah State Prison ordered that Schultz be deported.
But wait, there’s more. Schultz sought to appeal the deportation order because:
As a Christian in general, and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in particular, he believes he will be targeted for persecution [in India].
The 25-year-old knows little about the nation of his birth, speaks only English and believes he would have to live on the streets there, according to court documents.
The appeals judge, however, refused to reverse the deportation order and had this to say:
“He has not shown that people of the Mormon faith are routinely persecuted by the government or people operating outside the government,” Vandello stated in his ruling. “There are random acts of persecution of Christians and also of other religions, as far as that goes, even the majority religions on occasion.”
Ok. There’s a lot of baggage here to be unpacked. Is Schultz a victim of circumstance? No, I think he does deserve to serve time in prison. Is he rightfully terrified of having to relocate to India? After some consideration, yes. Does he deserve to be deported over his two felony convictions? I don’t know. But I’ll ask my fellow mutineers to weigh in.