It’s estimated that of the approximate 11 million undocumented adult immigrants in the United States facing deportation, 4.5 million U.S.-born children of those parents are at risk of losing their families. It’s a common question asked by these children: My parents are being deported, What will happen to me?
The children of undocumented immigrants are much more likely to face insurmountable challenges such as: poverty, abuse, mental health and behavior health issues, lack of medical and dental care, and lack of educational opportunities if one or both of their parents are arrested and deported. Family units are ripped apart by a system that is inconsistent and slow to make appropriate legislative decisions to help keep these families together and allow the parents to remain in the U.S. as productive citizens. While the U.S. Government has spent over $1.2 billion in deporting the undocumented adults, the children are left as the collateral damage of a broken system.
Under the 14th Amendment, children of undocumented immigrants, if born in the United States, are automatically considered U.S. citizens. The citizenship status of a U.S.-born child is not contingent on the citizenship status of the parent. Section 1 of the 14th Amendment reads:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Children born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrants are considered citizens of the United States under the current legislation and they are not at risk of being deported themselves. There have, however, been attempts to delineate this federal provision, requiring children of undocumented immigrant parents allegedly taking advantage of what is known as “birthright tourism” to be deported with their parents. The results of where the children end up residing are split: some leave for their deported parents’ homelands with their mother or father, others continue to reside in the United States with extended family, while some children end up in foster care as wards of the state.
In November 2014, President Obama signed several executive actions, some permanent and some temporary, to address illegal immigration. Perhaps most importantly, the actions would expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) to include the qualifying undocumented parents of U.S.-born children, in an effort to preserve those families. The expansion, however, was blocked by a federal injunction on February 16, 2015, and has not yet been implemented. The expansion would provide the qualifying parents and family members to pass criminal background checks, and stay and work in the United States without the constant fear and anxiety of deportation. To read more about the executive action, click here.
If you or your loved one is facing deportation, you will require a licensed attorney to represent you as soon as possible. Contact the Delgado Law Group immediately and schedule a consultation.
- 13 May, 2015
- Jackie Delgado
- 0 Comments
- Deportation, Parents Deported, Undocumented Immigrants,