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Children brought to the United States may have more time to stay

Imagine being sent to a country where you don't speak the language, don't have any family or friends, and are barred from returning to the only country you have ever known. While this may seem like the plot of a movie, this is a reality for many people in the United States and Pennsylvania. Within the U.S., there are approximately 1.7 million children and young adults who were brought to this country by their parents before they had turned 16. For many of them, they don't speak the language of their "home" country, they don't have any connections to the country and are, in every sense of the word, Americans. The only problem, however, is that they don't have the legal right to be in the country.

And these young adults can find themselves in removal hearings and deported if they aren't careful. They need to keep to themselves, stay off the radar and keep a low profile to avoid being caught. Even if they haven't done anything wrong, they could still be sent back to their parents' country, and that is what many of them are trying to avoid. With the recent promulgation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama administration is trying to keep these young adults here.

The program has put removal proceedings on a two-year hold for anyone who was brought to the United States before the age of 16. If someone came to the country as a child, can he or she really be expected to be held responsible for his or her lack of an immigration status? This program will not be a way for undocumented immigrants to become citizens, but it will provide some time for them to hopefully move closer to becoming citizens.

Being deported is a serious issue. Not only may someone be sent to a country he or she left as an infant, but it is also incredibly difficult to get back into the United States after having been deported. For someone whose whole life is here, a deportation could be devastating.

Source: The New Jersey Star-Ledger, "Undocumented immigrants defy labels, stereotypes," Brian Jacek, Oct. 21, 2012

In our practice, we have worked with numerous Pennsylvania residents who have been the subject of removal hearings. You can find out more about our process and removal proceedings in general by visiting our website.

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