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Should parents of U.S. citizens be exempt from deportation?

Under the current administration, immigration agencies have been ordered to focus on deporting undocumented immigrants in Florida who pose a threat to public safety, such as those people with criminal convictions. On the other hand, young people whose parents brought them to the U.S. when they were younger than 16 are now allowed to apply for work permits and have been granted temporary exemption from deportation .

But what about others, the approximately 10 percent of undocumented immigrants who entered when they were older than 16 but who do not have criminal convictions, have not violated immigration orders, and who are not a priority for removal? Though these individuals may not be a focus for ICE, they are not necessarily exempt from deportation, and must constantly work towards stalling their own removal.

Add into the equation that many of these individuals are members of families, whether they be the head of the household, or raising children as a single parent.

Many children of these undocumented immigrants have been born in the U.S. and are thus considered U.S. citizens. Though these children do not have to worry about being deported, they do have to worry about losing their parents through the deportation process. This is because if a parent is removed from the U.S., many times the parents would rather place the children in the U.S. foster care system than to bring them back to a place that they no longer themselves call home. In fact, more than 5,000 children are currently in this situation.

This then raises the question as to whether it would be better to avoid this situation by allowing parents of children who are U.S. citizens to stay in the U.S. for the benefit of their families and society as a whole.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Immigration conundrum: Deport moms of minor U.S. citizens?" Brian Bennett, Sep. 1, 2012

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