Suing, Praying, Pleading for Immigration Reform
As health care, Iran and banking reform grab the headlines and lawmakers’ attention, advocates for immigration reform are turning to prayer vigils and lawsuits that seem to have a thin legal basis but may have broad sympathetic appeal.
On Wednesday, dozens of American-born children of parents who’ve been deported gathered at a Miami nonprofit organization with activist Nora Sandigo to draw attention to what they say is a deprivation of their rights to live in the United States, because their parents have been deported. Many live in homes without money to pay for school supplies, or are at risk of foreclosure.
“Today these children’s voices are not heard,” Sandigo said at a press conference on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. “But tomorrow these U.S. citizens will be voting.”
Also on Wednesday, in Washington, religious leaders and supporters staged a prayer vigil to highlight the need for immigration reform. Obama is supposed to meet with congressional leaders about the issue next week.
The basis of the lawsuit on behalf of the children seems to be that the parents came to the United States before 1996, when Congress changed immigration laws to make it more difficult for them to become legal residents. They therefore had a reasonable expectation they’d be able to remain here and raise their children, they claim.
The problem with that argument, as a legal matter, is that in passing the immigration restrictions in 1996, Congress explicitly made its terms retroactive.
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