The law aimed at allowing grown children to enter colleges and the U.S. military even though they were brought into this country quite young–and illegally–is famously called the DREAM Act.
Perhaps someone should draft the NIGHTMARE Act, as a nightmare is what young U.S. citizens face as they are denied rights and benefits in Mexico after their parents return voluntarily or via deportation.
Adriana Gomez Licon collects the horror stories of some families caught up in this in her Associated Press report “US-Born Kids of Migrants Lose Rights in Mexico.” Among them is Maria del Rosario
Leyva, who returned to Mexico from Santa Ana last year with her U.S.-born 5-year-old girl and 3-year-old boy after their father was deported.
Leyva has two other children, a boy who is now 19 and a daughter in her mid-20s, who illegally crossed the border into the U.S. with their mother 17 years ago. The male is now back in Mexico while the female remains in California.
Their father was reportedly a chef at a Santa Ana
steakhouse, but he was recently arrested for drunken driving, pleaded guilty and was
deported. Maria left Santa Ana because she feared she would also be deported.
But after having gone to Mexican schools and education offices trying to enroll her kids, Leyva has discovered, “The government doesn't care about
what happens to the people who are coming back.”
One office suggested Leyva hire a lawyer. Instead, she turned to an organization that helps parents in such situations get the documentation required from both countries to enroll in Mexican schools or receive other government benefits.
Licon ends her piece with a tearful Leyva bracing for the day her youngest children are old enough to return to the U.S., explaining from the country of her birth, “Their future is not