Polovchak v. Meese

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Polovchak v. Meese
Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.svg
CourtUnited States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Full case nameAnna Polovchak and Michael Polovchak v. Edwin Meese III, et al
ArguedSeptember 9, 1985
DecidedSeptember 10, 1985
Citation(s)774 F.2d 731
Court membership
Judge(s) sittingRichard Dickson Cudahy, Richard Posner, Luther Merritt Swygert
Case opinions

Polovchak v. Meese, 774 F.2d 731 (7th Cir. 1985),[1] was a federal court case involving a 12-year-old who did not want to leave the United States and to return with his parents to Soviet Ukraine.

Walter Polovchak was living in Chicago when his parents decided to return to Ukraine, then part of the USSR, he objected, running away from his parents to the home of a cousin and requesting asylum, which prompted the case. His parents returned to the Soviet Union with his two siblings.[2]

The sympathetic Reagan administration allowed the legal proceedings to drag on for years, with the result that by the time a final decision was rendered, Polovchak had turned 18. No longer a minor, he was allowed to remain in the United States.[2]

A court ruled that parents who are citizens of another country cannot remove their own child from the United States to their native land over the objection of their child unless the child is first afforded a hearing, to determine whether living in another nation is in the child's interests.

The case has similarities to that of Elián González, who some claimed he did not want to return to Cuba.


  1. ^ Polovchak v. Meese, 774 F.2d 731 (7th Cir. 1985).
  2. ^ a b Leroux, Charles (2 July 1999). "WHATEVER BECAME OF THAT SOVIET KID WHO SUED HIS FOLKS TO STAY HERE?". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 March 2019.

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