How Should American Immigration Law Treat Foreign Analogs of American Adoption?
American law generally, and American immigration law in particular, generally treats adopted children the same as biological children. In the process, American law necessarily has to consider foreign adoption law in deciding how to treat children adopted in foreign countries.
But of course figuring out what exactly constitutes adoption under foreign law can sometimes be difficult, especially if the foreign country has a different sort of legal system from ours (see, e.g., Kaho v. Ilchert (9th Cir. 1985), involving Tongan customary law). Afianian v. Wolf, decided in September by Judge Fernando M. Olguin (C.D. Cal.), illustrates this.
Zahra Afianian, a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., filed an immigration petition on behalf of Yasaman Yaghoot, as Afianian’s adopted daughter. “Yaghoot’s biological parents died when she was three-years old, and plaintiff is her maternal grandmother. After Yaghoot’s parents died, her maternal grandparents, including plaintiff, and her paternal grandparents fought over
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