A demographic that's received little attention in the nationwide immigration debate has been the children. Many have been brought to the United States as their families crossed borders illegally in search of better livelihoods. According to research, nearly 5.5 million children in the United States have parents that are in the country illegally.
Ana Tintocalis, a KPBS San Diego education reporter delves into the issue of who is left to help these children when their parents are arrested by immigration officials and deported. Over the past decade, 100,000 parents have been detained and deported, thus leaving thousands of children without a guardian. In most instances these children are often times left to fend for themselves.
In this PBS Connect video, Tintocalis, speaks with a young lady who's is practically homeless as her parents have been sent back to Mexico, an advocate who wants justice for these young people and a congressman that sees advocacy for this sensitive issue as a way of granting amnesty to those illegally in the country.
"It is a very sad situation because it really has pulled apart so many families. And unless the family has some kind of preexisting plan, if I'm not here, what's going to happen to my child, who's going to have custody of my child, who's going to take care of my child, what we find that happens and the telephone calls that we get are from teachers, school counselors, social workers and good Samaritans." Carmen Chavez, executive director Casa Cornelia
"This is a calculated strategy of how to move the legalization issue. We'll start with the children. We'll use that as an excuse to get some people in, and then once we allow the parents of the children to get amnesty, we'll then say, well, we gave it to this group; we should give it to everybody. The fact is, we do not have enough safety net right now for those who are legally in our country. Now to be talking about giving carveouts for those who have broken our rules just really is counterproductive." Rep. Brian Bilprey, (R-Calif.)
1. Define the word deportation.
2. What makes a person an "illegal immigrant"?
3. When a person is deported from a country, where do they go?
1. According to the Urban Institute, how many parents have been deported from the United States in the last decade?
2. How do you think children feel when their parents are deported from a country?
3. Should preferential treatment be given to parents that are illegally in the United States, as to assure their children will not be left alone? Why or why not?
4. How does the immigration debate affect you or your family? Do you know anyone affected by immigration reform?