Kulongoski and CNN's Lou Dobbs weigh in


By Thanh Tan and KATU Web Staff

PORTLAND, Ore. - The fight over Gabriel Allred's future is gaining some serious attention as both Oregon's governor and one of the country's most outspoken newsmen, CNN's Lou Dobbs, weigh in on the issue.

Two-year-old Gabriel Allred is at the center of a custody battle that has pitted a Lincoln County family against Oregon's Department of Human Services.

Steve and Angela Brandt are the boy's foster parents and they wish to adopt him, but DHS has decided the boy would be better off in Mexico with his biological grandmother.

Gabriel's biological parents have no legal rights to the boy - his father is a convicted sex offender awaiting deportation to Mexico and his mother has a history of drug abuse.

The story has pulled at the heartstrings of many Oregonians, who wonder why the state would choose to send the boy to a country he has never been, and to a grandmother he does not know, when he has a loving family here in Oregon.

On the flip side, some believe DHS made the only decision it could - sticking to rules that state they need to place children with a biological family member if at all possible.

No matter what side you are on, it is clear that the fight over Gabriel Allred's future will be a bitter one.

The Brandts have said they will fight the decision by DHS all the way and have already filed custody papers in Lincoln County to try to keep their foster son here in Oregon.

On Tuesday, Gov. Ted Kulongoski jumped into the mix, saying he would ask the Attorney General to look into the authority he has over the boy's future. He hopes to have an answer by the end of next week.

"It's a tough call and there are good arguments on both sides of this," Kulongoski said. "We'll just have to wait and see."

That was an answer that confused the Brandts.

"We were always under the impression he could overrule the decision," said Steve Brandt. "Maybe that's not the case. At any rate, we are pleased that he has stepped in."

Local media attention on the 2-year-old boy is spreading quickly and now the story is reaching a national level.

The newest advocate calling for DHS to keep the boy on U.S. soil is CNN's Lou Dobbs, who said he plans to take the issue to our congressional delegation,and to the federal government.

It is a message the Brandts said touches them.

"Lou Dobbs has an audience that's going to listen," said Angela Brandt. "And there are a lot of Americans out there who are going to see Gabriel's little face and they're going to say 'this isn't OK' and this agency needs to change their policies and they can't deport a U.S. citizen like this."

Lou Dobbs interviewed the Brandts on Tuesday for his show.  If you missed it, you can read a transcript online (note that you will have to scroll through the transcript to find the portion where he discussed the Gabriel Allred story).

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