The Crescent Report

April 1, 2010

Lighting the Impact on Immigrant Families

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 10:44 am

The Lack of Serious Immigration reform has a devastating effect on immigrant family’s life in America. Children of immigrants who come as infants to America often don’t realize that they are not citizens. Check out the piece below in Khalilah Sabra reveals the case of a Palestinian College graduate who just found out that he is not a US Citizen.
Imam Mahdi Bray

Quote of the Day

“America was never America to me. This I swear America will be.

Lighting the Impact on Immigrant Families

Children come to the United States with and without their parents, and from all corners of the world: Central America, Mexico, China, India, Romania, Somalia. They are fleeing political upheaval, extreme poverty, child labor, and abusive homes. In some cases they have arrived in this country as infants, unaware of their immigration status. Sometimes they’re too young to remember entering the United States.

In 2008, more than 8,000 unaccompanied immigrant children were taken into custody by U.S. immigration authorities. Many were removed from homes. They were apprehended and then sent to shelters throughout the country where their stay can range from a month to as long as a year.

Through the MAS Freedom T. Marshall Child Advocacy Project, social work students and volunteers are trained to serve as friends of these children while being trained as child advocates. Their role is to figure out what brought the children to the United States, and then to advocate on their behalf. The advocates get to know the children, help sort out their stories, and help identify their eligibility for asylum or special protective visas. The advocates help ensure that actions are taken in the best interest of these children, whether they are eligible to remain in the United States, or compelled to return to their home countries.

Khalilah Sabra, the MAS Freedom National Immigration Coordinator, stated that, “The lack of an immigration reform really affects vulnerable children. We are currently assisting a young man of Palestinian decent who arrived in the United States as a toddler, and was unaware that he was “undocumented” until he applied for a job and his citizenship came into question. He now faces the dilemma of filing for legal migration or allowing for deportation -through no fault of his own.”

MAS Freedom is committed to its human service and policy advocacy program dedicated to advocating for the best interest – justice and well-being – of immigrant and refugee children who remain an unprotected class in the United States. We’re working to develop a national network of Child Advocates for immigrant and refugee children and to promote consideration of best interest and humanitarian justice in all decisions affecting immigrant and refugee children in the United States, especially those who bear no responsibility for being here.

The need for a comprehensive immigration reform bill is critical. “Citizen Children” are caught in the cross hairs of the nation’s illegal immigration battle.

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