Many non-citizens that found their way into the states or overstayed a visa have children in the United States. These children, under the 14th Amendment, are given automatic U.S. citizenship, allowing them protection from being deported. The protection, however, does not extend to the parents of these children.
The parents of these children fear what might happen if they are caught without documents. A parent’s role is to protect and care for their child, so it’s logical for parents to be afraid of being separated from their children. Here’s what you should know:
An undocumented immigrant’s right to U.S. residence through a U.S. citizen
While the 14th Amendment protects anyone born on U.S. grounds, it doesn’t extend to undocumented immigrants who gave birth to the child. These non-citizen parents do have the right to a Green Card because they have a child on U.S. soil.
Only when the child of these immigrants turns 21 years of age are the parents eligible for a Green Card. Their Green Card would allow these parents to become permanent residents in the U.S. This is because the parents are considered “immediate relatives” of a U.S. citizen. However, there are additional requirements that apply for a child to sponsor their parents for citizenship that can be difficult to meet.
Waiting for your child to turn 21 while living as an undocumented immigrant in the states can put your Green Card in jeopardy, limiting your chances of becoming a U.S. citizen and seeing your family grow. You may be at risk of deportation and barred from re-entry into the states when filing for citizenship.
If you are having difficulty getting citizenship and fear you may be deported, then you may need to contact legal help to obtain your U.S. citizenship.