Sun | Jul 15, 2018

Immigration Corner | Daughter's dad preventing travel

Published:Tuesday | September 6, 2016 | 12:10 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

My child's father and I have been together for 14 years and we lived together for seven years. We have been separated since last June. My daughter got her United States citizenship through him. After we separated, her father withheld her travel documents, which is now preventing her from travelling. Can you advise me on how to go about getting her documents back? Thank you.

- AM

Dear AM,

Although you haven't said so, it appears that your daughter's father also lives in Jamaica. The first thing I would suggest is to have an attorney write him a letter to request that the documents be returned to your daughter - the documents belong to her, not to her father. If he lives in Jamaica, I would then contact the police about retrieving the documents.

If you are not able to accomplish any of the above, or if the above does not result in the return of the documents, you would have to contact the US embassy in Kingston. I am assuming that your daughter was born in Jamaica and derived US citizenship from her father. The documents he has (maybe record of foreign birth and US passport) are not just travel documents, they bestow a birthright on your daughter - US citizenship - which is far more than just being able to travel. By withholding these documents, he is robbing his daughter of her rights.

The US embassy should have the record of her documents and be able to replace them. They may have some hesitation with the US passport if your daughter is under 18 years old and such a passport requires the approval of both parents - it may be difficult but not impossible.

- Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and personal injury law in Florida. She is a mediator, arbitrator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida.