Last updated on: 8/2/2017 | Author:

Should the Undocumented Parents of US Citizen Children Be Allowed to Remain in the United States?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)

The Urban Institute and Migration Policy Institute, in a co-authored Sep. 2015 report, “Implications of Immigration Enforcement Activities for the Well-Being of Children in Immigrant Families,” available at and, stated:

“An estimated 5.3 million children live with unauthorized immigrant parents, and 85 percent of these children are US-born citizens…

[T]here were a total of 2 million formal removals from the United States and another 1.8 million deportations without formal removal orders [from 2009-2013]. Data on parental removals during this period are limited, but suggest that as many as half a million parents may have been deported, affecting a similar number of US-citizen children.”

Sep. 2015

Jeffrey S. Passel, PhD, Senior Research Associate at the Pew Hispanic Center, in a Mar. 7, 2006 Pew Hispanic Center report titled “The Size and Characteristics of the Unauthorized Migrant Population in the U.S. Estimates Based on the March 2005 Current Population Survey,” wrote:

“Unauthorized families with children come in many combinations of legal and illegal statuses, both among the parents and their offspring. Of the 14.6 million people in unauthorized families in the March 2005 estimates, there were approximately 4.9 million children. Of these, about 3.1 million children, or 64% of all the children in unauthorized families, were American citizens because they were born in the United States… Out of the total of 6.6 million unauthorized families, a significant share can be classified as being of ‘mixed status’ —in other words, families in which at least one parent is unauthorized and at least one child was born in the United States. There were 1.5 million unauthorized families in which all the children were born in the United States. These families represent about one-quarter of all unauthorized families and more than half of unauthorized families with children. Another 460,000 families, or 7% of unauthorized families, had both U.S. citizen children and children who were unauthorized. Taken together, these mixed status families represent about one-third of all unauthorized families and five out of six unauthorized families with children.”

Mar. 7, 2006

PRO (yes)


Families for Freedom, an immigration advocacy group based in New York, in a June 26, 2007 report titled “Deportation 101: From Raids to Deportation,” offered the following:

“Every year, nearly 200,000 non-citizens —many with kids who are U.S. citizens— are deported and torn away from their families even when a judge thinks they deserve to stay in the U.S. to help raise and support those families. In 1996, our immigration system made deportation a mandatory punishment for many non-citizens… judges do not have a say in deciding if deportation is fair… Families must choose between splitting up, resulting in more single parent households and psychological and financial hardship, or forcing their U.S. citizen children into deportation with them. These American children may have to start over in a country with a new language, fewer resources and an uncertain future. America’s immigration laws force American children to lose their parent, or their country. Mandatory deportation is a life sentence of exile. Such a severe ‘one size fits all’ punishment cannot be the basis of our immigration system.”

June 26, 2007

CON (no)


You Don’t Speak for Me, a US-based Hispanic group against illegal immigration, in a Feb. 9, 2007 press release, “Mexican Legislators Will Travel to Chicago to Visit Elvira Arellano,” stated:

“Elivra Arellano [immigrant in the United States illegally and mother of a US citizen child] is also a testament to the unwillingness of the United States government to uphold the rule of law and enforce its own immigration laws. This failure has undermined our sovereignty while harming the interests of countless Americans… Children are not human shield[s]… It was his mother who put the boy in a difficult position when she knowingly broke multiple laws in this country

Whenever parents are held accountable for breaking the law their children are inevitably harmed. We all regret when that happens but not justice system in the world can allow parents to hide behind their kids.”

Feb. 9, 2007