Thursday, November 08, 2007

Oregonian Leaves Out Key Facts

Gabriel Allred

In today's editorial on 2 year old Gabriel Allred, Oregonian editors leave out key issues in the case. The Newport News-Times lays out a ton of facts the Oregonian ignores.

Valiente-Martinez [Gabriel's biological father] is currently serving a prison sentence for a drug conviction. He is also a convicted sex offender, having been found guilty of raping a 12-year-old girl. Valiente-Martinez is scheduled to be released later this month from the Oregon State Correctional Institution in Salem, after which time he will be deported to Mexico because he is in this country illegally.
. . .

"(Valiente-Martinez) gets out (of prison) on Oct. 22, and he's going to be deported immediately," Steve Brandt said. And when Valiente-Martinez gets to Mexico, he intends to move into the home where his mother lives - where DHS is proposing to send Gabriel.

. . .
The Brandts have appealed the Sept. 28 decision by DHS to send Gabriel to live with his grandmother. And, appeals were also filed by Gabriel's caseworker in Lincoln County, by the Newport attorney representing the child, and by a court appointed special advocate working on his behalf. "So there are four appeals," Brandt said. "Everybody filed an appeal who could."

[emphasis mine]

The Oregonian's take is that the case is fueled by bigotry.

Came then the outrage, surely -- shamefully -- inflamed because the border being crossed in this debate is with Mexico rather than, say, Canada.

And that the key issues are cultural and family ties:

Oregon's Department of Human Services did not make this decision on a whim. It made it on a policy that clearly states the primacy of family and cultural ties. Placing rescued children with relatives -- reuniting families -- is a priority for a very simple reason. In the long run, and in the majority of cases, it makes the most sense.

The cultural issue is specious in the case of Gabriel. He was born here and raised here. Surely his culture is American. Added to that, one of his parents is American. So, culturally, it's 2 to 1.

And as the Newport News-Times points out, the DHS professionals who actually know Gabriel, think he should not be sent to his grandmother in Mexico.

Both Steve and Angela Brandt are quick to point out they have been very pleased with the job done by DHS personnel in Lincoln County. "They really have been very good to us," Steve Brandt said. "There's not anybody that doesn't think we're the best place for this kid except this doggone DHS committee that took place on the 28th, and they're all strangers. These are people who don't know Gabriel, don't know anything other than what they're told or shown. So all the local people that have been working with us for 20 months, they don't get a vote. It's just these three strangers.

"They had all this information in front of them when they made their decision," continued Brandt. "They knew about the guy in prison, they knew he would go back to Mexico when released and deported, and yet they still made this decision only based on the fact that he has a blood relative in Mexico."

Shame on the Oregonian for raising a red herring (bigotry), failing to mention key facts, and leaving out that DHS professionals disagree in this case.

As for Oregon DHS, it's time for the Governor to haul in yet another Oregon state agency intoxicated with its rules rather than acting in the interest of those it is supposed to protect.

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