A Mexican man hopes to win custody over his three sons despite having been recently deported to his home country. The 31-year-old man fathered his children with an American woman after meeting her on his way home from his job working at Virginia sawmill.

Soon after meeting, the couple was married and the man began improving his English skills. He collected a regular paycheck from the saw mill, but eventually got hurt and had to take less lucrative jobs. By this point, the man and his family were receiving assistance with clothing, diapers, transportation and food from the government. This led one social worker to speak out against returning child custody to the man, whom the worker claimed was unable to show that he was able to properly provide and care for the children.

The man repeatedly encountered legal trouble before being asked by his probation officer to check in at the office. When the father arrived, immigration agents arrested him. He was then held for two months before being deported, leaving his pregnant wife to care for the couple's children alone. Soon after the arrest, the mother was deemed incapable of caring for her children and lost custody.

The father hopes to regain custody of the children, which officials say is possible if he calls them regularly, sends gifts and makes other such displays. However, the man said he cannot afford to offer his children expensive gifts on his weekly salary of $75 as a day-laborer. Given the current nature of the man's life, officials have repeatedly told him that he cannot properly care for his sons.

In late 2011, the boys' court-appointed guardian recommended that they be adopted by new parents, noticing that they were doing well under the care of foster parents. Until that adoption goes through, the man said he plans to continue fighting for child custody, saying that he would even consider crossing the border and risking a second deportation to be with his boys.

Custody cases involving a parent from outside of the United States have been making the news recently. There is no easy answer for this situation. The children's best interests must be protected; whether that is with a father who loves his children or a family who can financially provide for them.

Source: LA Times, "Deported to Mexico, a father hopes for custody," March 31, 2012