Posted by: bklunk | April 13, 2007

Tough Call

This is an interesting problem with human rights dimensions.  While author has a point about the cruelty of the choice presented, I wonder about the justice of someone who is legally subject to deportation being able to escape those consequences because they have a child who was born in the U.S while they were here without documents. 

A Difficult Decision « International Studies

A recent news article outlined the difficulties facing illegal Mexican parents and their children. As immigration officials are increasing efforts to locate and deport illegal Mexicans (there have been 18,000 men and women deported since last June), families are being torn apart. When a Mexican couple has a child in the United State, the child is automatically a resident and legal. But what happens when the parents are arrested and forced to return to Mexico? They are faced with a difficult decision regarding their children. They can either leave them behind with family or friends or take them back to Mexico. Many parents want their children to have the oportunities available in the United States and thus choose to leave them behind. The children that do go back to Mexico have to enroll in a Mexican school and often do not know how to read or write in Spanish. Deporting the parents and making them choose where their children will go is disrupting families and even tearing them apart. It does not seem right that they are forced to choose between leaving their children or starting a completely new life somewhere else, and in many cases, a place that is very foriegn to the children. Forcing parents to abandon their children is wrong. It is increasingly clear that something must be done to stop this.


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  1. This is a really great post on immigration and I was wondering if you would be interested in a link exchange with Immigration Orange. Email me at beausset at fas dot harvard dot edu if your interested. I hope this comment finds you well.

  2. It is a tragic situation any time families are seperated for any reason. I can only imagine that it inflict tremendous pain among the parents to have to make a decision to either leave their child with someone else to raise, even if they greatly trust the people. Or on the other hand, take them back to Mexico with them after they have tried so hard to give their children a life that they, the parents, did not have.

    However when looking at this dilemma, you have to turn your attention to why the parents are faced with this struggle in the first place. If they illegally crossed the border into the United States, had a child, and then was discovered as being an illegal immigrant, they cannot be completely surprised that there is conflict. This border dispute brings forth many other facets of discussion, however I think pertaining to the parent/child struggle, the parents who are illegal immigrants do not have a tremendous ammount of room to argue for their case. They illegally crossed the border, were discovered, and therefore face the consequence of having to go back. Now, if there is a child born in the US during their illegal time in the US, it is an American citizen, and therefore I believe that the child does have the right to be in the US.

    The whole subject of border disputes is a delicate one, but in this case I do not think that the parents who are immigrants can be surprised to find themselves in this struggle.

  3. I think this blog and mine at have a lot in common. I’m deeply focused on environmental issues among other things. Please have a look around my site and if you like it, let’s do a link exchange. Drop me some E-mail, if you are willing. Best wishes.

  4. I agree that this is an interesting topic, but not so much a delicate one. I mean, yes, call it delicate becuaue it is dealing with family, and somewhat of human rights, but not so much. In this situation, I don’t feel that there are any human rights being violated. The two people, prior to being parents, crossed the border illegally, had a child (who is born as an American citizen) and feel that everything is fine, and that everything is okay because they have an American born citizen as a child, but it’s not. They become upset because they have been discovered and are being sent back, yet they have no right to be upset. Once again, they crossed the border illegally; leaving whatever rights they did have on the other side. Yes, I understand that we do have immigrants in our country working, but they have gone about it in a different manner, in a manner where paperwork has been done, where the truth has been revealed, there is no hidden agenda, or so we think; they’ve done it the right way, for a lack of better words. Besides, they’re here to work, to try and make a living and possibly even send funds back to Mexico so that the rest of the family can continue eating and living, and maybe even one day come to the U.S in a legal manner. It’s not like if they’re living here in the U.S. and taking advantage of the welfare system simply because they have an American citizen as a child. So call me insensitive, but these two people knew from the moment the thought occurred to them of crossing the border that there would be consequences if they were to get caught, and they did, and might I add that having a child in the U.S does not justify the situation nor grant them American rights; they may have human rights, but not American rights. The only one sharing these rights would be the child, and I highly doubt that he will have much to say for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to sound heartless, I value the unity in a family very much, but I also feel that we have rights as citizens, and those rights can’t just be given to anyone. I mean think about it, what if people from other countries started doing this on a regular basis, just crossing the border because they’re ready for a better life. Where does that leave us Americans, and not only that but what would become of the U.S?

  5. This article brings up an interesting (and depressing) issue that is becoming increasing common throughout the world. Families are torn apart for various reasons – leaving the child in one country, while one or both parents are in a different country. Often times you’ll find people in this situation through a global care chain. This occurs when an impoverished parent will move to a wealthier country to care for the children of a wealthier family, then sent the money back to help support her own children. This causes immense strain upon the family, and the children are often more delinquent than average children because of the lack of parents.
    These same effects will likely occur to the children raised in the US from Mexican immigrants. While they have increased access to education and health care, the likelihood of the child becoming more delinquent actually increases. People terribly underestimate the effects of true parental figures in the raising of the child – or lack thereof. The immigration policy is in need of serious reforms, especially when taking into account families and children.

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