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We Are Undocumented But Kids Were Born Here. Are They Citizens? 

Savage law Nov. 22, 2022

Happy African American Family Holding USA FlagIf you and your partner or spouse came to the United States as undocumented immigrants, and then you had or are planning to have children in the country, you might wonder, “Are children born in the U.S. citizens?”  

Can having children in the United States help you in obtaining lawful residence if you are an undocumented immigrant? Can how can children born in the U.S. to undocumented parents help their parents immigrate to the U.S.?  

As an immigration attorney who serves clients in Providence and surrounding communities throughout Rhode Island, Attorney Layne C. Savage can address these and other questions related to obtaining a green card through U.S. citizen children. Also, she has the knowledge, practice, and resources to help you get on the correct path while keeping your best interests in mind. The Savage law also serves clients in Boston, Massachusetts, and neighboring areas.  

Are Children Born in the United States Citizens?  

The U.S. Constitution says that every person who was born or naturalized in the United States is a citizen of the country. In other words, children born in the country are entitled to U.S. citizenship, regardless of their parents’ nationality or immigration status. However, it is important for parents whose children are born in the U.S. to obtain an official birth certificate, which can then be used to establish the child’s citizenship.  

In the eyes of the law, it does not matter if the child’s parents are undocumented immigrants or immigrants who entered and lived in the country lawfully. Every baby born in the U.S. automatically becomes a U.S. citizen.  

If My Child Is a Citizen, Can They Help Me Immigrate?  

Technically, yes. A U.S. citizen child can help their parents – undocumented immigrants – immigrate to the country through their own citizenship. However, doing so can be complicated due to the law that prohibits U.S. citizens from helping their parents and other immediate relatives immigrate to the U.S. until the citizen reaches the age of 21.  

Thus, while immigrating to the U.S. through your U.S. citizen child is technically possible, it would require you to wait until the child’s 21st birthday. However, there may be other options to gain a permanent residency. If you want to stay with your family in the U.S. and do not want to get deported, the results-driven immigration attorney at Savage law can explain your options during a free consultation.  

Can You Be Deported if Your Child Was Born in the U.S.?  

The short answer is, “Yes, you can be deported, even if your children are U.S. citizens.” In fact, it is not uncommon for undocumented immigrants to be placed in deportation proceedings when they have children who were born in the United States.  

However, U.S. citizen children cannot be deported from the country, even if their parents are in the country illegally. When you get a deportation notice as an undocumented immigrant with a child born in the U.S., you have two options:  

  1. Leave the country with your children; or 

  1. Leave your child behind and make sure that you find a person who will serve as the child’s legal guardian.  

Just because undocumented immigrants can be deported does not mean they will be deported. The U.S. government adopted a policy called “prosecutorial discretion” when it comes to deporting people who are in the U.S. illegally.  

Prosecutorial discretion means that U.S. immigration enforcement authorities dedicate their efforts and resources to deporting high-priority immigrants, such as illegal immigrants with a criminal record or those who pose a threat to national security or public safety. In other words, if you have no criminal record and are not a threat to national security or public safety – and you also have children born in the U.S. – chances are you may not be a high-priority case for deportation.  

Turn to Trusted Legal Guidance  

If you are an undocumented immigrant who has kids born in the United States, you are probably exploring your options to immigrate to the U.S. and stay with your children. The immigration attorney at Savage law can assess your unique situation and help you understand how to protect your future in the country. Get the legal guidance you need by reaching out to the law firm’s office in Providence, Rhode Island.