Pro-Life Law Cited to Protect Woman, Unborn Baby in Deportation Case

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 3, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Law Cited to Protect Woman, Unborn Baby in Deportation Case

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
August 3, 2004

Washington, DC ( — An unborn baby could make the difference in whether a Mexican woman who was deported is allowed to return to the United States.

Lawyers say 30-year-old Maria Christina Rubio needs to come back to the U.S. in order to protect the health of her eight-month-old unborn child.

They say the unborn baby is a viable human being and may be eligible for citizenship rights.

A lawyer for Rubio’s husband notes that, under the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, unborn children are granted equal protection under federal law. Since the unborn child could live outside the womb, attorney Luis Carillo says the baby should be treated as a child in the U.S.

"The child was conceived in the United States and would have been born in the United States except that the mother was deported. Through no part of his own, the unborn baby is in Mexico," Carrillo told reporters.

Carillo is considering whether to file an unlawful deportation suit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

But Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told the press, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States” are considered citizens under the 14th Amendment. "It doesn’t say all persons who were conceived in the United States,” Kice added.

Rubio was hospitalized for complications during her fifth month of pregnancy and has suffered severe pains throughout her pregnancy, making her return to the U.S. necessary.

The Mexican woman was deported after she attended a status conference on her residency request. Immigration officials kicked her out of the country after they discovered her residency request had been denied two years earlier and she had entered the country illegally.

Last week, immigration officials denied a request to grant Rubio a temporary humanitarian visa to return to the U.S. Rubio is also the mother of two young daughters who were born in the states. She was deported July 16.

But legal opinion surrounding the citizenship of unborn babies may be changing. In May, a U.S. District Court judge in Kansas City, Missouri, approved a stay of deportation for a pregnant woman. The stay was based on the argument that her unborn child could be considered a U.S. citizen.

While the Missouri decision will not set a legal precedent, it could offer immigration lawyers a new angle to pursue in deportation cases.

Lawyers for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Missouri, however, argued that while unborn children are protected under criminal law, the law does not restrict the government’s immigration powers.

The Unborn Victims of Violence Act, also known as Laci and Conner’s Law, ensures that unborn children are counted as crime victims when acts of violence are committed against their pregnant mothers.

The law is nicknamed after Laci Peterson and her unborn son Conner, who were murdered in California. Laci’s husband and the child’s father, Scott, is being tried for the double murder.