I came across and article in McClatchy – DC Bureau which is no longer there, from Kansas City Missouri, today again highlighting how our immigration laws are separating families, in some cases. Lauren Gray immigrated to the U.S. with her parents and sister from England when she was only 4 years old. Her family immigrated here on an E visa to open Motor Lodge and restaurant. After spending almost 17 years of her life here, she is about to turn 21 and about to to be in the United States illegally under U.S. immigration laws.
Under our immigration laws, children can remain in the U.S. under their parents’ visa until they marry or turn 21. Because Lauren does not want to remain in the U.S. illegally she plans to voluntarily leave the United States when she turns 21. She has the support of the small town her family lives in but that is not enough to change our current law, which appears will split this family apart.
The article mentions the new deferred action program for people who entered the U.S. at a young age and notes that Lauren does not qualify under the new program because she did not enter illegally. I was confused by this, however, because the information released by the Department of Homeland Security so far does indicate that a potential applicant have entered “illegally.” The materials I have seen simply state that the applicant have entered the U.S. under the age of 16. So contrary to what the article states, Lauren may have an option to stay under the recently announced deferred action program.