Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Activist fighting for migrants with children born in U.S.

This addresses the provision for birthright citizenship contained within the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. -Angela

Activist fighting for migrants with children born in U.S.
She is battling odds to get her day in Supreme Court
By LAURA WIDES-MUNOZ, Associated Press
November 5, 2007

MIAMI - Experts say Nora Sandigo doesn't have a prayer in her bid to get the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the deportation of illegal immigrants with U.S.-born children.
Sandigo just nods - she's heard it all before.

Naysayers scoffed when the immigration activist and former supporter of Nicaragua Contra rebels worked to stop the deportation of thousands of Central American immigrants who'd fled their region's civil wars in the 1980s. But her work prompted Congress to pass a law protecting them in 1997.

Experts said the same thing before she helped thousands more Central Americans win temporary protection after natural disasters struck several years later.
"We have to try. The worst battle is the one not waged," said Sandigo, a single mother of two who runs the nonprofit immigrant advocacy group American Fraternity and owns two small businesses.

Illegal immigrants in Florida, New York, California and Illinois have asked Sandigo to become the legal guardian of their 600 children, so she could help the children if the parents are deported.
Going to the top
About 100 children have been entered into her lawsuit seeking to allow the parents to stay in the U.S. until Congress passes an immigration bill that would give them legal status or until the Department of Homeland Security provides them another avenue to remain. The lawsuit eventually could cover an estimated 4 million children.

Children born in the U.S. are automatically citizens, even if their parents are illegal immigrants. If their parents are deported, they are allowed to stay, but most have to return with their parents to a country and culture they've never known.
Sandigo's lawsuit has been filed directly with the Supreme Court because federal law has limited lower courts' abilities to hear deportation cases.

It is a long shot. The Supreme Court rarely takes cases that have not moved through the lower courts.

However, she said the lawsuit is the best option because the U.S. Senate failed last month to revive a bill to allow some illegal immigrant students to seek U.S. residency - likely dooming any immigration bills this year.

Sandigo, 42, fled Nicaragua as a teen, leaving her own parents behind, after the socialist Sandinista government confiscated her family's farm. During the 1980s, she provided the U.S.-backed Contra insurgents with clothes and "everything that was needed" and later spirited her 16-year-old brother out of the country before he could be drafted. She became a U.S. citizen in the early 1990s.

Her support of free trade agreements with Latin America puts her at odds with many immigrant advocates who fear such deals won't protect worker rights and small businesses. Sandigo says free trade and immigration go together.

"I don't want people to say we are just trying to bring more immigrants to the U.S. I want people to be able to stay in their countries and find work," she said.
'It will become a magnet'
Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors strict limits on immigration, said her lawsuit will only encourage more people to come.

"Family relationships and employment are what bring people here," he said. "On the other hand, if having a U.S.-born child is a guaranteed get-out-of-jail-free card, then it will become a magnet."

Sandigo said she's not asking for open borders and favors more border security. She simply believes immigrants who've worked for years in the U.S. shouldn't be separated from their children or forced to uproot them.

Among the children in her lawsuit is 15-year-old Teresa Flores of Yakima, Wash.
Teresa and her four siblings awoke in April 2006 to see her mother hauled off by immigration agents. She dropped out of school to take care of her younger brother before returning to the Mexican town of La Huerta, Jalisco, where her mother now works as a waitress. That job does not pay Teresa's mother enough to provide the basics for her children, so Teresa returned to the U.S. to live with another family and catch up in school.

"As a citizen, I want to be heard," Teresa said.

Even if the Supreme Court accepts Sandigo's case, the odds against her are great, says University of Virginia law professor David Martin, who served as Immigration and Naturalization Services general counsel under President Clinton.
Sandigo is adamant.

"By sending parents back, what are you creating here? You're creating children who are going to be resentful, angry," she said. "You're creating enemies within the country."


jose antonio said...

los casos como el de sandigo son ejemplares, si todos los mexicanos o latinoamericanos en EUA hicieran una actividad tan intensa como la de ella definitivamente habria mas presion sobre el gobierno de EUA para lograr una reforma justa.
la postura de sandigo me parece muy interesante pues no solo busca "amnistia" para los inmigrantes ilegales sino que busca erradicar el problema de raiz al crear empleos e inversiones en los paises de origen. sin embargo esto debe ser matizado pues los tratados de libre comercio no siempre son la solucion a la pobreza(mexico como ejemplo) pues mal aplicados solo hacen ricos a los que ya eran ricos. sin duda, la ayuda a los paises de origen es la respuesta correcta, pero no es tan simple como firmar tlc s (nafta s) con cuanto pais pobre exista

jorge_as said...

El problema de la deportacuon de ilegales con hijos americanos debe tener una pronta solucion ya que es injusto que inmigrantes que ya tienen una vida en US con hijos ciudadanos sean reportados; la intencion de Sandingo de poner una demanda es un buen intento de hacer algo aunque digan los expertos que el asunto no va a prosperar; por otro lado es necesario hacer algo con los niños que se quedan solos cuando sus padres son deportados.

rosy said...

This article reminds me the one of the child with cancer, if their parents are being deported what are they going to do?, little kids can´t live without them so they need to have a very soon solution to stop deporting ilegals or do something else with this kind of situation, we hope the US goverment be more sensitive with this type of problems.

Cecilia said...

Well I believe in this article we can also mention Elvira Arellano and her situation in US with his son.
I think it isn't fair that the children of immigrants who are United States citizens have to come back with their parents because no one will look for them in that country. It is urgent that the government of the US do something about like I don't know maybe if they let these parents stay until their children grow up and become legal citizens or something like that but it isn't fair that the government deport all of these families when the children were born there.

Anonymous said...

me pareceria justo que se tratara de encontrar una solucion intermedia,em refiero a que es poco humano deportar a los padres por ejemplo en el supuesto de que tuvieran hijos muy pequeños o enfermos, que necesitan a toda costa de la proteccion de sus padres, pero por otro lado, el tener hijos pequeños automaticamente se convertiria en un boleto para la no deportacion, cosa que tampoco reslaria adecuada. Definitivamente lo ideal seria que los legisladores norteamericanos encontraran un usto medio para dañar lo menos posible a todos los involucrados.(PUBLICADO POR: karen luna)