U.S. Law Center

Illegal status means less to young immigrants

Many of those who come to the United States illegally, are seeking the opportunity to obtain a better standard of living than they were able to achieve in their home countries. In California, many laws have been passed recently that allow immigrants more freedoms than they would have in other states. This may be why some undocumented immigrants are feeling empowered to share their stories.

Those who came to the United States at a young age have perhaps experienced less of the racial bias than their parents and grandparents did. In California, there are progressive laws that protect immigrant minors’ legal rights in civil suits, and that allow high school students who are not citizens to work at election polls. Federally, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has allowed those who were children when they came to the United States to receive a deportation reprieve and a work permit.

Older generations of immigrants who came to the country illegally did not experience the same assistance, which may have led to a much different attitude from those who grew up in the United States. In an interview, one undocumented immigrant couple in California admitted that they are still afraid to draw attention to themselves. If they are ever deported, they plan to make a new life in their home town rather than fight to stay in the United States.

The ever-changing political climate in the United States makes future legislation uncertain for those who live in the country illegally. Anyone who is facing the threat of deportation may benefit from the advice of an attorney who is familiar with U.S. immigration law.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “What's the Plan B if you get deported? A generational divide,” by Cindy Carcamo, Sep. 29, 2015

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