SALEM -- An Oregon girl living in foster care could be sent to Mexico to live with her father, who is a convicted felon.
State child welfare workers plan to send the six-year old to live with her father, according to the child's grandmother, Kerrie Lechuga of Salem.
"They are going to send her to a different world," said Lechuga.
The girl is in state custody because of her mother's ongoing drug problem. Lechuga said state workers want to reunite the little girl with her biological father.
Alfonso Pantoja-Samano is a convicted felon who served time in Oregon before being deported.
"They've only said the father takes precedence. The father trumps anybody else. And I would understand that if he weren't a violent felon," said Lechuga.
The grandmother wants custody. She doesn't understand why child welfare workers would send a United States citizen to a foreign country.
"To me it is more like being deported or exiled," said Lechuga.
The Oregon Department of Human Services said it can't comment on specific cases but issued the following statement:
Oregon’s Department of Human Services, Child Welfare follows state and federal laws in all reunification cases whether the placement is in state, out of state or out of country. While the reunification procedure is a legal obligation to reunite children with their legal parents, the work of Child Welfare is always guided by what is best for the child. There are checks and balances in the system that includes background checks, home studies and collaboration with local services for the child. In all DHS cases local judges with access to all information make the final decision.
KGW is not naming the six-year old girl to protect her identity.