Undocumented parents sweat out debate on immigration reform
These little girls are U.S.-born American citizens, but their father lacks proper immigration documentation.
June 14th, 2011
11:07 AM ET

Undocumented parents sweat out debate on immigration reform

Tough new state immigration laws are striking fear in the hearts of illegal immigrants with American-born children.

“I worry about my children,” says one father of two young kids in Carrollton, Georgia. He didn't want to give his name, because he has no legal right to reside in the United States. “My kids were born here. What will happen with them? We don’t know, and that’s the fear we have.”

Georgia, like AlabamaArizona and Utah, recently passed a tough immigration law.

The longer Congress waits to deal with immigration reform, the louder states seem to scream for action. According to the National Conference of Legislatures, an all-time high of 1,538 bills dealing with immigrants and refugees have been introduced in state legislatures this year alone. These measures include things like employment verification requirements for businesses and restrictions on public health services and college access for illegal immigrants. But the most worrisome for many parents are those giving local law enforcement more power to do federal immigration checks.

“Don’t worry!" is a message Atlanta immigration lawyer Charles Kuck gives his clients all day long. He’s one of those challenging the Georgia law’s constitutionality in federal court.

“These laws are bad, and they’re going to have a tremendous effect on the community. But for now we say, ‘Calm down.’ This law is meant to silence people, and we have to at this time not be silenced. We have to be vocal and not shut up.”

But for parents who fear separation from their American children, it’s easier said than done. About 2.5 million families in the U.S. have undocumented immigrant parents and American-born children, according to the Pew Hispanic Center's Jeff Passel.

“I’m planning to move to Miami, where I have some family,” says one undocumented mother of three who lives in Georgia. “But they tell me that the law is also being considered there.”

State lawmakers acknowledge many of these bills are meant to send a message to Washington.

“This problem is never going to be solved completely until the federal government deals with it,” says Georgia Republican State Rep. Matt Ramsey, author of the Georgia immigration bill.

So far, Washington has shown little reaction to states' enacting immigration bills. “The drive for comprehensive immigration reform has shown unsuccessful,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, told the Atlanta Press Club on May 20.

Two weeks earlier, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told the club only that that she didn’t like a patchwork of states taking on immigration reform.

As federal immigration reform languishes, undocumented immigrant parents of American children gain time. If they can avoid deportation until their firstborn turns 21, that child can apply for his or her parent’s legal status.

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Filed under: Alabama • Arizona • Georgia • Immigration • Politics • Utah
soundoff (1,262 Responses)
  1. jake

    this azz wipe doesn't worry about his children, he only worries about HIS STINKING azz being deported.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jake

    this azz wipe doesn't worry about his children, he only worries about HIS STINKING azz being deported. just leave NOW and stop sweating. don't forget to take your 2 anchors with you.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Really

    You think you are tired of illegal immagrants how do you think the american indians feel???

    June 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MM

    What is right and what is legal are often not the same. People need to be treated humanely, but America can no longer have an open immigration policy. It is simple math. And to those lazy white americans who don't want the minimum wage job in the fields, you are cut off. Get educated, get a job, or move to Mexico and suck off of their state. If Americans were not so lazy this wouldn't be a problem, because there would be to no jobs!!!!!

    June 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JR

    Anchor baby or no anchor baby, crossing the border illegally is a crime! If the police were doing their job, they would arrest the parents and give the children to the custody of the state until the parents serve their sentence get deported. Arrest the employers and landlords as accomplices and the church groups who help them as accomplices too!

    June 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      No, they need to take the children with them if they are minors! We don't need to take care of them, their parents should be the ones to pay for them!

      June 14, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Shawn

    Illegal immigration is obviously a detriment to America (Economic, National security) . But let's be real for a second is deporting 12,000,000 individuals really pragmatic or just? I mean we could commit a many resources to finding and deporting them, but couldn't that money be spent elsewhere (securing border, helping Americans sufferig)? Wouldn't it make more sense to secure the border and bring those here illegally out of the closet make them pay a fine and turn them into tax-paying residents? I think the extremes on this issue Liberals arguing for an open border and blank amnesty and Conservatives arguing for deportation of all llegal immigrants are actually exsaberating the problem and are supporting those business who hire exploit illegal immigrants and screw American workers out of a job!

    Rant from a ordinary guy who feels our laws should be respected and also has a heart!

    June 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dick Hertz

      Take away all they came for and they'll leave on their own. We can start with making E-Verify mandatory Nationwide.

      June 14, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • SAMBO


      June 14, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dick Hertz

    The only good Illegal is a Deported Illegal. Same goes for their Illegal spawn. Real Americans are tired of supporting these Leeches against our will. Charity is voluntary and we weren't born their Slaves to serve them. I can hear LaRaza whinning after last night's debate. Don't let the door hit you in your Illegal a$$, Pancho. Be here Legal or be Gone. Maybe you can take our Traitors with you.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jake

    prove it.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Danielle

    Come on California, step up to the plate and follow the lead of Alabama, Arizona, Georgia and Utah! The time is now...actually the time is way past now, but better later than never!

    June 14, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Danielle

      Should have said, "...better late than never!"

      June 14, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dick Hertz

    What will the History books say about the leeches. Will they tell the truth or sugarcoat it?

    June 14, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Naf

    Here is what the U.S. needs to do...any illegal immigrant who has children born in America should be allowed to become citizens without punishment. Let them become tax-paying citizens and help to move our country forward. Of course there would be guidelines to ensure that the plan is followed and not abused. If the illegal immigrants do not want to become citizens and be an asset to our society, they need to leave immediately with their children, no exceptions. I am supportive of everyone having a right to a good life, but it must be done the right and illegal way.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • tati

      those are not the people who will move the country forward. Backwards, if anything. They should not be rewarded by breaking the law.

      June 14, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • proudtobeademocrat

      And I think that you should sponsor and pay for them. Moron

      June 14, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Too reasonable. The rednecks will hate you for even thinking it.

      June 14, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dick Hertz

      Better idea. Why don't you move back to their Banana Republic with them? Then we'd be less one Traitor.

      June 14, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Parkerman

      That is not reasonable because all that does is become an insentive for more immigrants to come across illegally and have their children here. How long do you want us to be taken advantage of, most of these people don't want to be Americans but be Mexicans living in America bringing their own nationality here. They do not take on our culture, but try and live their Mexican culture.

      June 14, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. exodus

    This is very simple. You can think however you like about this subject but it boils down to simple math. You cannot have a welfare state and allow immigrants running rampant into your country. Unemployment is high, people are broke, the states are broke, the Fed is broke and trying to raise the debt ceiling so we can owe even MORE to China and so on. So who is going to pay for all this welfare? You cant take the money from working Americans anymore because there isnt enough of them. The 14th amendment says all these kids are Americans and the vast majority are minorities so they get additional welfare and get it first. It's why health insurance is failing, why social security is failing and others of this model are failing. You cant have more money going out then coming in; thats a simple economical and mathematical principle.

    So I ask all those who are not in favor of deportation or stricter immigration laws: How do you sustain this? What's your plan? The people you vote for, what's their plan? If you have a family member and a total stranger who needed $5 to survive and you only had $5 who do you give it to? Youre on a large boat with a rip in the hull and it's sinking so you can either seal that portion and kill some people or let the boat sink and kill everyone. What do you do?

    Have all the "what's right" rhetoric you want because it doesnt matter. You can be as humanitarian as you want and it doesnt matter. It would be great if we could all live under rainbows where life was perfect but thats not real so it doesnt matter. The system as it is cannot be sustained. What do you do?

    The truth is when everyone is given everything in reality everyone has nothing!

    June 14, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Parkerman

      Well stated

      June 14, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. proudtobeademocrat

    We in the US have been suckers long enough, thanks to gutless, conniving politicians. Illegals know EXACTLY what they are doing, and they also know where and how to suck our resources dry. Politicians don't live in neighborhoods that have illegals who run drugs, terrorize citizens, and out and out murder people. If there is a politician that lives in a neighborhood like this, let us know. I'm sick of them shoving BS down our throats to get votes. There should be huge sweeps to catch and return illegals to their own countries. Fingerprint them, and if they illegally enter again, dock the aid to their country by $50,000 dollars a head. Then we will see THEIR countries putting a stop on the flow of illegals to our country.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sacagawea

    I am so amazed by how ignorant people can make comments on a subject which more than likely even affects them. I bet that if they even took the time to track their ancestry more than half of them would discover that their own ancestors migrated to this country. Its so easy to make a comment like this when you yourself don't even know your own background. Just because your skin color is white does not make you A TRUE BLOOD AMERICAN. Look into your roots, I mean really look and you'll find that you're not as any more "american" as these people migrating here.

    This whole country was built on immigrants from ALL NATIONALITIES from all over the world. Imgaine a world with out any of these individuals, you think the economy is BAD NOW? Wait until you have no one working in the factories, working out in the fields, tell me WHO is going to do these jobs? Joe Smith? Good one, these so called trespassers that you want out are those individuals who take the jobs YOU SO CALLED RED BLOOD AMERICANS would never even dream of or do. I'm so sick and tired of hearing "I dont have a job because an illegal took it" NO you dont have one because you weren't willing to take on a job which pays minimum wage IF THAT!.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • proudtobeademocrat

      And I think that you ought to sponsor these illegals, and support them till they get deliver their herds. A lot of things built this country, moron, and we don't use illegals as an excuse to abuse our tax dollars. Go back to bed.

      June 14, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really

      Awesome! thank you! so many ignorant people around, they don't even know where they came from... so sad but true!

      June 14, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • f

      You are an idiot liberal crybaby whiny-ass illegal alin lover. It works like this. You get in line, you fillout your forms, you go to the end of the line at the appropriate location (embassy, ,etc.) you wait for your turn, you get legal permission to come here, you come her and get a job,learn ans speak English, you pay your taxes and live happiliy ever after. YOU DO NOT break into my country in the night like a thief breaking the door lock on my house and sneak in and steal education, healthc are, social sevices, etc. and NOT pay taxes. My grandparents and parents came from Germany after WWII in the cargo hold with one small suitcase and their "papers". They did all of the above requirements and became American citizens. The Mexicans/Latinos MUSt do it also. If not, GO HOME.

      June 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kooter

      I have worked at the same company for 32 years and there were times when the going got rough that I have to take a low paying part time job. I am a white american and I would work the fields if that is all I could get. But of course if I needed to do that there would be an illegal taking the job.

      June 14, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Betman

      I immigrated to this great country. I filled out papers waited for a visa and work permit, paid the proper fees and gained my citizenship that I am so proud of the right way. Do I deserve my money back? Should the taxpayers pay me for my extensive time and effort? Or should I have not even givin them the choice by sneaking in and being irresponsible by breeding so the taxpayers can pay for my illegal family to be educated and breed even more. The fact that this country has some wonderful migrants has nothing to do with illegal activity. Try pulling this crap in Mexico.

      June 14, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Parkerman

      My ancestors came from Holland after WWII LEGALLY. They filled out the proper forms and waited until approved to come here. This is not whats happening now, we cannot simply let anyone and everyone walk across our borders and take advantage of our services. It is a unsustainable system.

      June 14, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ryan

    simple as this......worry if you are not legally here....i dont see where the the debate is on this....if you dont have paperwork take your kids and go home.....whichever country that may be......

    June 14, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
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