LatinaLista -- When it comes to fighting for the citizenship rights of the children of undocumented immigrants, the hope has always centered on the DREAM Act. A bill that would grant a path to citizenship to those children whose parents brought them to this country at a young age.
But what about children of undocumented immigrants who were born in the United States?
In truth, there should be no problem for these children. That is, until some legislative body somewhere passes a birthright bill that would revoke automatic citizenship to anyone born in this country whose parents weren't U.S. citizens. Yet, until that happens the current law says all children born on U.S. soil are citizens -- PERIOD!
4-year-old Emily Samantha Ruiz
So, why did Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents refuse to allow 4-year-old Emily Samantha Ruiz, who was born in the U.S., back into the country after going to Guatemala with her grandfather on vacation to visit relatives?
It's a question a lot of people are demanding the Dept. of Homeland Security answer, especially after what agents told her parents.
According to the law office of David Sperling, Emily and her abuelito went to Guatemala to visit her abuelita and aunts and uncles and cousins. At the end of their stay, the two boarded a plane to come home to New York. The grandfather was able to travel back and forth between his native Guatemala and the U.S. because he has, or should say, had a work visa.
The plane was diverted to Washington D.C. where immigration officials found that the grandfather had an illegal entry on his record from the 90s. They immediately took him into custody to deport him back to Guatemala.
That left Emily.
During this time, Emily's parents were frantic. Her father didn't know what had happened to his little girl. As any parent would, he begged for someone to tell him what had happened to his child. A representative from the airlines finally told him that immigration officials had detained his daughter and her grandfather in DC.
Emily's father called immigration and spoke to an agent. The agent asked him if he was a legal resident. The father said no. The agent asked if the mother was a legal resident. The father told him no and that they were both undocumented.
In that case, the agent told the father, you have two choices: either leave Emily in a children's detention center in Virginia or send her back with her grandfather to Guatemala.
No offer to come pick her up or we'll send her to you was made.
The father chose to send her back with her grandfather.
There has been no explanation issued by ICE as to why this bizarre set of circumstances has been allowed to play out. New York Immigration attorney, David Sperling, has volunteered to go to Guatemala on March 28 to bring Emily back to her parents.
But still there are questions that need to be answered.
What would possess this federal government agent to deny entry to a child who is a U.S. citizen, regardless of the citizenship status of her parents?
Is ICE operating under another agenda that the public doesn't know about?
Do these actions have the blessing of the Obama administration?
In an administration that supposedly touts accountability and transparency, this is a situation that needs to be addressed quickly and openly and someone needs to educate this department that the U.S. Constitution hasn't been amended yet.