It may seem farcical to many people in Reading to have a child defending him- or herself in a deportation proceeding, but the sad reality is that there are a large number of children each year who are being detained by federal agents and left to represent themselves as they seek asylum. It is heartbreaking to think that there are children as young as two who are futilely tasked with finding evidence that supports an asylum case; if they fail, they could be sent back to a country that is rife with violence.
Imagine being told that you have a certain amount of time left with your children before you will be forced out of the country. Tragically, this is an extremely common situation and one that happens to families in Lancaster quite frequently. When a parent is not a citizen and the children are, there is always the risk that the parent could be deported before he or she has a chance to naturalize and become a citizen, too.
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.