Family units are the building blocks of a happy, healthy and stable society. This is true even more so with families who have immigrated.
What happens, however, when undocumented immigrants give birth to a child in the United States? Does that child’s citizenship status protect their parents from deportation?
Does a child have the right to citizenship if they were born in the USA?
Yes. The Fourteenth Amendment of the constitution contains a citizenship clause that guarantees the right of anyone born in the U.S.A. to have U.S. citizenship.
Will a child’s American citizenship help parents avoid being deported?
Traditionally, there has been a governmental policy commonly known as “deferred action” or “prosecutorial discretion” that has allowed judges to not process cases of people who have familial ties to the United States.
Under the prior administration, this policy was temporarily suspended and a more aggressive approach was adopted. However, the new administration has shifted sharply back, which gives new hope to parents in this situation.
What should parents do if they find themselves being processed for deportation?
Even if a parent finds themselves in deportation proceedings, they can apply for “cancellation of removal” and be awarded lawful permanent U.S. residence based upon the following factors:
- Longevity: Having lived in the U.S. for a minimum of 10 years
- Unusual hardship: Deportation of parent would cause their child who has U.S. citizenship to suffer unnecessarily
- Good moral character: Parent can demonstrate that they are a fit and moral parent
- Non-criminal: Parents must prove that they haven’t been convicted of violating U.S laws
The U.S. immigration enforcement authorities (ICE) are being flooded with deportations, and their current priority is deporting criminals. If parents or spouses of a U.S. citizen are facing removal from the country, it is highly recommended to seek legal counsel who has extensive experience with immigration and naturalization cases.