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When undocumented parents have children, what is their status?

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2021 | Immigration Law

Five years ago, you came to the United States, and you are undocumented. Perhaps you came to look for a job on a work visa, that visa expired, and you simply opted to stay. Perhaps you were entirely undocumented even as you came into the country, and you still are.

Either way, you met your spouse while you were in the United States, the two of you moved into an apartment together, and you had two children. You know that your immigration status is still undocumented, which you would like to change in the future, but the more pressing issue seems to be the status of your children. Are they also undocumented? They’ve only ever lived in the United States, so they don’t think of anywhere else as home, but is this their home?

Children of undocumented parents are still citizens

The fact of the matter is that anyone born in the United States is a U.S. citizen. This means that the children of undocumented parents – or of one undocumented parent, in this example – are still citizens of the United States. They are not undocumented, they are not in the U.S. illegally, and this certainly is their home.

That doesn’t mean you’re not going to face any complications. You certainly could, in terms of your own status. But you don’t have to worry that your children could be deported to a country they’ve never been to before, as U.S. law views them as citizens of this country and not your home country.

This does change if the children are born outside of the country and then brought in, though they do have some additional options they can explore. But children who begin their life here, no matter who their parents are or what status those parents have, can still call the United States home.

What do you need to do next?

Your spouse is a citizen, and your children are citizens, but you’re not. What do you need to do next to change your own immigration status? Naturally, you likely want to create as much stability for your family as possible. Take the time to look into all of the legal options at your disposal so that you can also become a legal resident of the United States.