Washington: Three decades after she was adopted by an American woman in Kolkata, an Indian-American orphan now faces the prospect of being deported to India, with a local court refusing to intervene in a federal government's deportation move on the ground that she is a criminal alien.
Kairi Abha Shepherd, 30, her lawyers say, is planning to approach the US Supreme Court to prevent the federal government from removing her from a country where she has lived for three decades now.
Breaking her long silence, Shepherd urged the Indian government that it should not issue the necessary travel documents, that might facilitate her deportation.
According to Salt Lake Tribune, which reported the case early this month, federal government argues that Shepherd missed qualifying for the Child Citizenship Act (CCA) by a few months and now that she is too old to qualify for citizenship under this.
In a 23-page ruling the Utah court ruled that the court does not have jurisdiction determining her legal status.
The US Justice Department did not comment on the ruling, neither did the Department of State nor the Department of Homeland Security.
Kairi was adopted from a orphan in Kolkata in 1982 when she was just three months old. As luck would have it, her mother died of cancer when she was eight. When she was 17, she was arrested and convicted of forgery to fuel a drug habit.
"Ms Shepherd was an orphaned baby in India when she was brought to this country for adoption in 1982 by a US citizen.
Her adoptive mother died when she was eight years of age, and she was thereafter cared for by guardians. There is no record of any effort by Ms Shepherd or her guardians to petition for her citizenship," court documents say.
"In March and May 2004, Ms Shepherd was convicted in Utah of attempted forgery and third-degree forgery. After she served her time, the government initiated removal proceedings against her, alleging she was a criminal alien ... based on the convictions," it said.