Undocumented Pinoy family reacts to anti-birthright proposal

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
A Filipina nurse, who asked not to be identified, dreamt of a better life when she moved to the United States in 2001. But she and her husband, an engineer, could not get a working visa and ended up overstaying.

While she and her husband are undocumented, her little girl, who was born here, is a US citizen by birthright.

She said, “I want her to have a bright future in America that’s why my husband and I work so hard to send her to private school. We are not relying on the government for help. We work hard on our own.”

Arizona and 4 other states have unveiled legislation in Washington DC that challenges the US Constitution from granting automatic US citizenship to US-born babies of undocumented parents.

Republicans from Arizona, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Georgia, South Carolina say only children with at least one parent who is permanent resident or citizen should be granted automatic US citizenship.

She said, “I disagree with that. The children are innocent. If they are born here, they should be given US citizenship because that’s what’s stated in the constitution.”

Community leader Nimfa Gamez, who was once undocumented, is also against the anti-birthright proposal.

“Undocumented are not a burden to society. Most of the Filipinos who come here are professionals. And they do their best to contribute back to society,” she said.

Studies show that about 4 million US-born children of undocumented parents live in the US. The anti-birthright proposal would not take back the US citizenship of these children, but would deny it to those born after the law is enacted.

This could affect not just the children of undocumented immigrants but even tourists and foreign students.

Gamez said, “Instead of targeting the children, the government should instead focus on finding ways to legalize undocumented immigrants who work hard to have a future here with their children.”

Find more like this: Immigration

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