If you stay in the US for a long time and you don't have legal residency, but you pay taxes, obey the laws and your kids are American citizens, how does the law protect you?Recently I heard on the...

If you stay in the US for a long time and you don't have legal residency, but you pay taxes, obey the laws and your kids are American citizens, how does the law protect you?

Recently I heard on the news, undocumented immigrants who live in Minnesota are scared to leave their houses. They came to the US a long time ago and they were paying taxes, raised their children in Minnesota, etc. My question is what is the law protecting these people? If they send them back to their country of origin, their family will be divided which is not what the government wants, right?

Asked on by solidad

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brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

This is one of the reasons why immigration reform keeps coming up as an election issue, because the law as it presently exists is not practical, and in many cases, inhumane.

Undocumented immigrants, even if they have children who are native-born US citizens, have no protection under the law against deportation, even if they have been in the US for a long period of time, have obeyed all other laws, and pay their taxes.  Estimates range between 12 - 17 million people who live in the US without papers, and deporting them all (even locating them all) would be very expensive and economically foolish for the US government to do, but because the law hasn't been adjusted to fit that reality, immigrants in the situation you describe still have no legal protections or options at this point.

There are some efforts in individual states and at the federal level to extend more protections to the children of undocumented immigrants that are brought here at a very young age but are still not citizens, such as offering them in-state college tuition (the DREAM Act) and a possible path to citizenship since they had no choice in coming here, but so far most of those efforts have been defeated.  While the law as it presently exists can separate young children and parents, makes no sense and ignores simple reality, unfortunately that looks unlikely to change in the next year.

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