A Story of Adoption, Religion, and Deportation (Revised)

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].

More importantly,

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.

111 thoughts on “A Story of Adoption, Religion, and Deportation (Revised)

  1. I think that it is reasonable for him to be charged for the crimes he did commit, but why he is being punished for a mistake his mother made after adopting him as a toddler? If he was adopted at 3, how did he have any control over whether his mother properly finished filling in the forms? Additionally, regardless of the fact he is being sent to India (rather than some other country?), can you imagine, no matter who you are, being told you must leave the country and never come back, leaving the place you grew up, your family, and everything you have known?

    Additionally, such a rule means that the bonds of adopting a child are not as important or real as giving birth to one. He has grown up in the US for as long as he can remember, as part of a family here. By sending him back, it seems to me that they are basically stating that families built through adoption are not as ‘real’ as blood relatives. It seems like it could open a larger issue into adoption and rights of adopted children.

  2. Yeah.. It is cruel to expect someone who has grown up in the US to go back to the third world, and it doesn’t mention if the dude has been to India or not before ? It is going to be a major eye opening expereince for him..

  3. I don’t think it has to do with “first world” or “third world” at all…. if he was being deported to France, or Japan, or any “first world” country, I think he would be just as scared and have just as hard of a time trying to survive as in India…

  4. Most important, after having lived in America for so long, will his digestive system ever adapt to the Indian cuisine??? What about his drinking the Indian water?? That will be an interesting experience for him and the journalists.

  5. fsowalla on April 5, 2007 07:07 AM · Direct link Of course there’s a link between foreign policy and refugee policy. But that doesn’t mean a nexus between supposedly “good” countries” and “bad countries” and approved asylum applications exists. At the end of the day, each individual has to demonstrate a well-founded fear of government persecution based on one or more certain factors. The reviewing officer looks at the evidence provided by the applicant as well as reports and information from a variety of sources. A fear of being killed in a gang war, while a valid fear certainly, generally hasn’t been enough to meet the legal standard under U.S. asylum law. One increasingly common ground that applicants today base their asylum claims on is sexual orientation. You won’t find, though, these claims being approved or rejected based on the applicants being from “bad countries” versus “good countries. It’s not that simple. Some interesting stas are here. Sorry, don’t mean to threadjack on this one issue. Feel free to email me directly though.

    I don’t disagree with you, but I do think that even legitimate cases of persecution will be denied if the government can use this denial to its advantage. My professor was telling us once about a case in Chicago in the late 80s of a Salvadoran man who fled the war and actually had a bullet lodged in the back of his head. The judge STILL denied him asylum, saying that he could have gotten that in a street fight or something. I think it’s a safe bet that had this been a Nicaraguan and not a Salvadoran, his request for asylum would have been approved, with the government touting “look what these commie Sandanistas are doing to innocent people!” I also think that the U.S. would have been more legally sympathetic to Salvadorans had it not been investing billions of dollars in crushing the FMLN and left with justifying to the public that the money was not going toward war and human rights abuses.

  6. India wouldn’t be bad but I can understand his reluctance to be deported back to a country he has no ties to, thanks to his dumbass adoptive parent.

    Dieter, why don’t you stop getting your panties in a bunch whenever you sense an opening for white-bashing?

    Sadaiyappan, You should really look into the diversity of India before making statements on what constitutes an Indian. Those people living in the northeast aren’t “Chinese,” they’re Indian. We come in all shapes, sizes and colors, unlike Bollywood actors.

  7. i myself am a deported,criminal offender,i have a doughter in the usa,and my parents took me to the us,now they became citizens,i never commited a felony crime,and i pleaded guilty to a domestic violence charge,because i was tired of courts,and the life i was leading,i never harmed anyone fisically,and i was deported because of that,i lived in the us 22 years,i have a 4 year old doughter,that now has no father,her mother is not in that great of shape,she is a druggy,and the question is,whats going to be of my doughter?.

    i can´t really take care of her financially,because i make enough money to bearly take care of myself,i´m not proud of what i did in the past,i can shore say that i changed my ways,i can take care of myself,who´s going to do that with my doughter,i was never asked to be taken to the us,now y feel that i am american,even do i was born in a different country,inmigrations told me that i would never be able to come back because of my criminal history,i miss my doughter,and i shore hope she is well ,this are the cases that matter the most i think,the same is happening with the adoptive mother of this indian kid,well he did some things wrong,i´m shore his mother is going to miss his son,i think unstead of spending all this money deporting and housing some one for ever in a jail.thy should spend it rehabilitating this kid,i was rehabilitaded,and it doesn´t mean that i´m not going to pay for the cosecuences of my actions trust me i did,i spent enough time in jail,for what i´ve done,i just hope that CLAIRA CHAPARRO ,my baby has a chance to live with her father,or i hope that she can find a good dad to be with her,i love her so much ,i just want to tell her i´m so sorry for not being able to be there for her

  8. I’m in the same boat this young man is in I was deported to jamaica and I left there when I was 6yrs old went to panama central america and was adopted by us citizens who where active military when I was 12yrs old. My parents didn’t finalize the adoption and now I’m back in panama trying to make it i have a 15yrold daughter that is going through depression for all of this and i have no way of getting back to my family. I pray for him it is so hard I also lost my leg to cancer when i was 14 in the US and now I can’t afford a leg here and insurance forget about it I wish you luck

  9. He was from Sikkim, India. Which is no longer there, he was an orphan before his US mother adopted him. He has no ties what so ever to India and barely remembers anything of the place. Of course he is scared, and also done his time for his crime in the Utah Prison before they decided to deport him. He also was not aware that he was not a citizen before it was brought to his attention in court. His mother may have thought it was all taken care of. Her neglagence was bad, but her intention when adopting this kid was good. I dont believe that deportation should have even come into play on this situation. Teens do stupid things, and I believe he has already done the time for the crime so leave it at that.

  10. To the people callig the young man names. Shame on you ! This country was founded on immigrants escaping religious persecution. Yes, he is using religious persecution to his advantage, but considering history where people used to be hung for stealing horses, or for being witches, lets show some compassion. Are we a nation of christians or hipocrates?