Your thoughts on this 'Children's vigils' call for widespread reform of federal immigration policies?

In churches and parks, outside courthouses and municipal buildings, hundreds of people today called for an end to federal immigration policies that advocates say tear families apart and punish the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants who are deported or detained for long periods of time.

So-called "children's vigils" were held through the afternoon and evening in nine New Jersey communities, from Morristown, Newark and Jersey City in the north to Bridgeton, Cumberland County, in the south. Advocates staged a 10th vigil in the Bergen County community of Dumont on Monday

At each venue, the message was the same: Children born on U.S. soil -- and who are therefore American citizens -- suffer the most under federal policies that make the deportation of illegal immigrants a priority.

In some cases, parents opt to leave their children in the care of guardians in the United States to give them the promise of a better life. In other cases, they take their kids with them to home countries where educational and economic opportunities are scarce.

"What our country has done has imposed the intentional breakup of the family or a dislocation of the children from their homeland," said the Rev. Charlie Ortman, one of about 50 people to attend a vigil at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Montclair.

He cited the case of a Montclair family in which the parents were deported to Mexico last month, choosing to leave behind two of their four children.

"We were dealing with some very broken hearts," he said.

Valdil Toar, who attended a vigil with some 35 other people at the Reformed Church in Highland Park, said he knew about broken hearts. Federal agents took his father, an illegal immigrant from Indonesia, from the family's Avenel home on May 24, 2006. Valdil, was who was 12 at the time, hasn't seen him since.

He said he vividly remembers his mother sobbing when he and his sister rushed into the living room on the morning of the raid.

"They took him," he said she cried. "They took daddy."

"We want to be a family again," the teen said.

Vigils also were held in Hightstown, Keyport and Freehold, where about 40 people read excerpts of speeches from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Those who attended the rallies want Congress and the Obama administration to provide illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. They also are seeking passage of the Child Citizens Protection Act, a stalled measure that would give more discretion to federal judges in evaluating deportation cases in which U.S.-born children are involved.

Advocates say hundreds of thousands of children live in fear their parents will be taken.

Between 1998 and 2007, the federal government deported 108,434 adults whose children were U.S. citizens, according to a Department of Homeland Security report released in January. Some parents were repeat offenders, bringing the total number of parent removals above 180,000.

DHS estimates there are 12 million illegal immigrants nationwide. The department's last estimate for New Jersey came in 2006, when it pegged the number at about 430,000. Since then, the Pew Hispanic Center estimates, the state's illegal alien population has likely grown beyond 500,000.

It is not known how many of those people have U.S.-born children, but the Pew Hispanic Center estimates 4 million children nationwide have at least one parent who is an illegal immigrant

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/09/childrens...

13 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'm game, hey, let's abolish all punishment for any criminal who has a family.

    Why not, criminals are only criminals if they don't have families, right, don't want to hurt the kid because of the parent's screw up.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I have a better solution to this problem of families being ripped apart because the parents are illegal and the children are "natural born citizens." How about no more "natural born citizens" to immigrants or aliens? Wouldn't that make sense? If your parents aren't citizens and they give birth while in the USA then neither is the child.

    No other countries have "natural born citizens". It's dumb. And guess what? My husband, the father of my child, is an immigrant. We have kept his status LEGAL and we would be sure to do the same for our son if it was necessary. No whining, no excuses, nothing.

    Common Sense, people. We keep letting this happen the USA is going to be GONE. We will be Mexico.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I do feel sorry for the kids since they're caught in the middle. But where's the personal responsibility of the parents?

    They can blame the government and law enforcement all they like, but they are the ones that put their children in this situation in the first place. They made the choice to cross the border or let their visas lapse and they know full well that they can be caught and deported at any time. The fear their children feel is nobody's fault but their own.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    So using their logic, people who have children and commit a crime should not go to jail because it will tear them apart.

    Why cant illegals accept the fact that unlike their homelands the US is a country of laws?

    If it were for them we wouldn't have immigration laws at all.

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  • Sasori
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    It's a pathetic argument. No One Makes Them Leave Their Children Here. They are more than welcome, encouraged even, to take their children with them when they are deported.

    The reason they leave them here is the welfare benefits the child receives. The illegal parents have no financial responsibility to their own children. It is all on the taxpayers.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    So we shouldn't imprison people who have minor children because a family will be torn apart?

    They made a choice to break the law, and one of the possible consequences is that they will be separated from their children if they have any here.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Rotten eggs, fruits & vegetables on the "hundreds" of sanctimonious HYPOCRITES, from hundreds of millions of law respecting U.S. citizens.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    OK...illegal is illegal and if an illegal has a baby that baby shouldn't benefit from the illegal actions.

    I am for an amendment that limits citizenship status to babies born to parents who are here illegally.

    Sorry that is my opinion.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    If you break the laws of the US you will be seperated from your loved ones. You will go to jail or we will send you back to where you came from.

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  • Jan
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Just another pity tactic. When all else fails,use your children as pawns.

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