The 4-year-old US citizen who was de facto deported by Customs and Border Protection is coming back to America, in style.
"Immigration treated her like a second-class citizen, but we're going to bring her here and she's going to come first class," David Sperling, the family's lawyer told the Daily News.
Emily Samantha Ruiz was on her way back to her Brentwood home after a trip to Guatemala with her grandfather earlier this month. Ruiz was detained in Dulles International Airport after immigration officials stopped her grandfather for an illegal entry charge levied more than ten years ago.
Her family claims officials gave them a difficult choice: send Ruiz back to Guatemala or allow immigration to place her in an American juvenile facility. Fearing she would be taken into foster care, Ruiz' grandfather elected to have her sent to Guatemala.
CBP disputes the family's claims. The agency said it did offer the family an opportunity to pick Ruiz up from authorities.
"CBP strives to reunite U.S. citizen children with their parents. If the parents choose not to take custody of their children, CBP works with other agencies to ensure the children's safety and well being, up to and including releasing them into the custody of other relatives," spokesman Michael Friel said in a statement. "In this case, the parents were offered the chance to pick up the child, but elected to have her return to Guatemala with her grandfather."