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No Papers? It's the Kids Who Suffer (Op-Ed)

April 27, 2015 (1 min read)

"At least one of every 15 children living in the United States has an unauthorized parent, and nearly all of those children are native-born United States citizens.  Think of that statistic, one in 15, the next time you drive by a school or a playground.  Think of those children living with the knowledge that the federal government can take their parents away.  Common sense tells you that the threat of a parent’s deportation will exact a terrible price. ... The nation has an interest in regulating immigration, yet it also has a stake in its children.  Current policies do not succeed in regulating immigration, but they do force these children into life-stifling insecurity. ... These young citizens are at risk of being less than full members of society.  Removing the threat of deportation from their families gives them a chance to prosper.  That serves the public interest more effectively than maintaining an enforcement system widely decried as ineffective and unjust.  In the universe of manufactured disadvantage, we cannot think of many instances in which sitting judges, with the stroke of a pen, can bring immediate and measurable relief to millions of children.  Here, they can.  The remedy begins by understanding that the adults can no longer be seen simply as people who slipped the border to find work.  We must begin to see them as parents, as the people raising our nation’s children.  Some will reject that view and fault the adults for being in this country without proper immigration status.  But the American sense of fairness and system of justice have long embraced the notion that the “sins of the father” should not be visited on the children.  Reasonable minds can debate whether there is blame to attach to the parents.  There is no reasonable case to be made for punishing their children, who are citizens of the United States.  Yet they are punished every day." - Roberto Suro, Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco, Apr. 27, 2015.