The Perspective of a teen in L.A. with an Immigrant Parent
One point of view of the immigration issue that is not usually seen is that of a teenager whose parent or parents are undocumented immigrants. According to a 2013 USC report, almost 16 percent of children in Los Angeles County were U.S. citizens with at least one parent that is an illegal immigrant. The Pew Research Center estimates that there were around 215,000 children born in the U.S. in 1999 that have a parent that is an illegal immigrant, and these U.S. citizens are now teenagers. Many of these teenagers are dealing with the anxiety of losing a parent because of their legal status in the U.S. and some are trying to take on the adult responsibilities of protecting the people that they care about from deportation. Lupe, a 15 year old U.S. citizen whose mother is an illegal immigrant, states:
I just want my mom to have the freedom that any U.S. citizen has of coming and going. I just want her to feel safe to go visit her family when they’re sick, or when there’s a party, or a reunion … like any human would like to do.
It is definitely a tough situation for these teenagers that are trying to find their own place in life, while worrying everyday if their loved ones will be deported.
Maria Garcia is a high school senior and both of her parents are illegal immigrants. When she was asked about her college plans, she replied:
I just feel like I should just stay in L.A. How would I get back fast enough to be able to get my brother and my sister? And where would I take them?
The view of children whose parent or parents are illegal immigrants should definitely be taken into account more when trying to come up with solutions for immigration reform.
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