PROBE: Jan. 4, 2001

January 04, 2002

QUESTION: I am a Mexican citizen living in Mexicali. My husband, who has a green card, moved from Mexicali to Calexico, where he works. He took our two little girls with him.

Although he is legal, the girls, ages 6 and 3, are not.

According to the Mexican court order, he can keep the children four months and I get them four months. He has had the children a year. In November he applied for full custody in El Centro.

I have gone to the police, the Border Patrol, even the courts but none do anything to get back my girls. Since the kids are in this country illegally, it seems all the Border Patrol has to do is pick them up.

When the hearing on his custody petition was held, the judge denied it, but my husband still has the children.

Although we married on both sides of the border, we have no divorce in California. Can you help me? — Grieving Mom, Mexicali


You need an attorney. For one thing, a Mexican divorce is valid in the United States. Besides, if you had an attorney, you could petition the court to give you full physical custody. If you act quickly before the kids settle into this country, you may get it.

Dionicio Delgado, a Border Patrol spokesman, pointing out this matter had come before a judge and the judge did not order the kids returned, said this is a civil matter.

"There's nothing we can do," Delgado said.

Delgado promised to talk to the Mexican consulate in Calexico and suggested you do so as well. We agree. Binational custody disputes are common here on the border.

There may be some rules and legal precedents governing such matters. We wonder why the border guards allowed the children to cross into the U.S. without papers or your permission?

QUESTION: A young, heavy-set Mexican male came to my house Sunday claiming to be my newspaper carrier. He said he was checking to see if the newspaper had arrived properly for the last two weeks.

When I told him I knew both my carriers, he said he was helping my IVP carrier, Amy. My carriers are Juan and Jessie.

I called both and they said they didn't have any helpers. Was this guy working for you? — Concerned, Brawley

He was not working for us. We think we know who he was but we don't know what he was doing on a Sunday afternoon.

If he had asked you for money, we might have had a better idea. Sometimes a person will claim to be a carrier collecting payment for the newspaper. The real carrier finds out only when he goes to collect and his customers insist they have already paid.

George Avila, our El Centro district manager, said if the man comes back, call him at 337-3420 or Juana Chapa at 344-1296. Calexico subscribers with a question may call Vanessa Cota at 357-3731.

QUESTION: About an hour ago a woman put three key rings in my hand. She said she found them in front of our insurance office. In all, there were 14 keys to different types of vehicles. I go crazy when I can't find my keys. So whoever lost those keys, don't panic. After work I am going to take them to the El Centro police station. — Holding-the-keys, El Centro

Why would anybody have 14 keys to fit different vehicles? Never mind. If you lost your keys, call Julee at 482-2788 at Allstate Insurance or check with El Centro police.

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles