Charleston, South Carolina residents have likely heard the deportation scenario that has become all too familiar in the United States today. Individuals come illegally into the United States and have children. These individuals work hard once here to earn a living for their families, and then without warning they are deported back to their native country. Their children are left behind, often having to go into foster homes.
This was the scenario for Jose Antonio Machado. His mother had built a life for them in Miami. She worked as a gas station attendant. Then, when the boy 15, his mother was deported back to Nicaragua. In 2011, the boy found himself in foster care. Now, at 18, Machado is fighting to bring his mother back into country. His fight has gone all the way to Congress. He now works as a policy analyst and strives to have his voice heard on the ways in which immigration law can be reformed.
Machado's situation is not uncommon. The office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement estimates that over the past 16 years, more than 100,000 parents of U.S. citizens have been deported. Over 5,000 of these children are currently in foster care because their parent has been deported.
The desire to reunite with family after long periods of separation can be powerful. One of the most important things individuals can do who find themselves in situations similar to Machado is ensure all possible avenues are explored and the current status of the law is understood.
Immigration law is a complicated area. Many are fighting for immigration reform, while others feel that it would be pointless to ever deport anyone if they are going to allow these deported individuals back in the country. There are several proposals that have been offered by the Senate that would allow deported individuals to come back into the country for several reasons, including if they have a child who is a permanent resident.
Any individual who finds themselves facing issues with family immigration needs to make sure his or her rights are protected. Attorneys who have expertise in the area of immigration law are able to examine the unique circumstances of one's case and make every effort to secure a just result for that person.
Source: ABC News, "Young activist fights to bring deported mom back", Feb. 7, 2014