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Parents of U.S. citizen children may face deportation

A previous post in this blog discussed the factors surrounding derived citizenship for Miami immigrant children. To recap, non-resident children may qualify or apply for United States citizenship through their parents, if their parents are naturalized under specific requirements.

Are there circumstances in which a child is automatically a U.S. citizen despite having parents who have not gone through the naturalization process? According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, a child is a citizen at birth if he or she was born in the country or its territories or outlying possessions subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

Does having a naturalized child automatically protect parents from deportation? Not necessarily, states The Guardian. Every year, about 50,000 immigrant parents are forced to leave the country despite having children who are citizens. Many of them should have been protected from deportation under certain circumstances, such as having lived in the country more than five years or having citizen children. However, throughout the 2011 and 2012 fiscal years, an estimated 15 percent of almost 700,000 immigrants facing deportation were parents of a child who was a U.S. citizen.

Additionally, not all of these parents had a chance to explain their situation to an immigration judge before being sent out of the country. Many deported people who try to get back into the country are attempting to rejoin their children. It is not uncommon to see repeated attempts, possibly leading these parents to face criminal charges for simply trying to be with their children again. Changes to immigration law may someday provide better protections for immigrants with citizen children, but those changes have yet to come.

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