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    Encarnación is a young woman from Guatemala who was picked up by immigration agents raiding the poultry processing plant where she worked. The fact that Encarnación was a mother with a baby at home did not matter. She was detained and charged with using false identification and identity theft - a charge that has since been rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Encarnación’s son, Carlos, is six months old and is a U.S. citizen. Carlos had a series of caretakers while Encarnación was in detention, including a local clergy member who approached Encarnación, offering to find a good home for Carlos until her case was resolved. Feeling trapped and helpless, Encarnación felt she had no other choice but to agree.

    Several months later, Carlos’ new caretaker came to see Encarnación in jail where she tried to get her to give up her custodial rights to Carlos. She refused. When Encarnación’s brother went to find him, neither he nor the caretaker was home. When she learned Carlos was missing, Encarnación tried calling over and over but no one answered her calls.

    She would soon find out that Carlos had been given to a couple who wanted to adopt him. They served adoption papers to Encarnación - in English - which she could not read, and several days later the couple was given temporary custody of Carlos by a Missouri judge.

    For the next 10 months, Encarnación had no communication with the court. When the judge held a hearing for the adoption petition, she could not attend because she was incarcerated. Her attorney presented no witnesses and the hearing lasted less than two hours. (Her attorney was later disbarred on domestic violence charges.)

    The judge then ruled that Encarnación had "abandoned" her son, terminated her parental rights and changed her son’s first and last names.