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Governor asking DHS not to send 6-year-old Oregon girl to Mexico

The Department of Human Services says it has seen to 34 family reunifications in 2013, most of them in Mexico.

By Aileen Graef

SALEM, Ore., Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Ore. Gov. John Kitzhaber has asked the Justice Department to review a Department of Human Services decision to send a 6-year-old girl to Mexico.

Yoselin Pantoja is an American citizen who was in foster care when both of her parents were in prison. Now DHS has decided to send the girl to live with her father, Alfonso Pantoja, after being deported following the end of his prison sentence for assault.

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Her grandmother, Kerrie Lechuga, is fighting to keep her in the United States and is elated that the governor is getting involved, but knows that it doesn't guarantee a victory.

"I've learned not to get my hopes up. I hope she stays," she said.

Pantoja's mother, Gloria Segura, says she knows she has a drug problem and can't provide for her daughter, but her father is not a good choice for guardian. The father has had anger management, violence, and drinking problems.

DHS released a statement that it is working with Kitzhaber and the Justice Department to figure out the next steps. In the meantime, Lechuga is trying to become a certified foster parent so she can take custody of Pantoja.

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[KPTV]

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