A federal court ruled last week that the adopted daughter of a former Army Lt. Col. must be deported over a simple paperwork error. Hyebin was born in Korea and adopted by former Army Lt. Col. Patrick Schreiber and his wife Soo Jin.
They considered filing the formal paperwork in 2013 but put it off because Schreiber was about to deploy to Afghanistan, according to Reason. He spent a year serving as the director of military intelligence for the 4th Infantry Division at RC-South.
When he returned, the couple legally adopted Hyebin and started the official paperwork to seek citizenship. Unfortunately, they missed the cutoff, reports Military Times.
By U.S. immigration law, a foreign-born adopted child must become a naturalized citizen by 16. Unfortunately, Hyebin turned 17 before her father returned home. Last week, a U.S. District Court denied the family’s appeal for an exception. They ruled that U.S. Customs and Immigration Services has the right to deport Hyebin.
Schreiber told the Military Times on Monday, “As I tell my daughter, life isn’t fair. The main thing is to be resilient.”
Hyebin is currently studying chemical engineering at the University of Kansas. U.S. Customs will allow the girl to complete her degree. After that, barring any appeal, she will have to return to Korea. While the family is planning to file an appeal, they aren’t expecting it to work.
Family attorney Rekha Sharma-Crawford stated, “It was disappointing, but we’ve always known this is not the end of the road. But it’s still hard on the family.”
Lt. Col. Schreiber served in the military for 27 years. He met Soo Jin during a deployment to Korea in the late 1990s. Hyebin is her niece. When her home life became too difficult, the couple took her in as their own daughter. If the appeal doesn’t go in their favor, the whole family will move to Korea.