In 2009, 389,834 illegal immigrants were deported from the United States. That was an increase of 20,000 deportations since 2008. The Obama administration has accelerated the process of deportation, and there have been more numbers of deportations under this administration than under the Bush White House. However, there is one group of illegal immigrants that has been relatively unaffected by this spike in deportations. Children of illegal immigrants, who have spent most of their lives here, and studied in the United States, seem to be more successful at petitioning deportations.
The Obama administration is clearly soft-pedaling on children of illegal immigrants, who also seem to be coming out in full force to declare their immigrant status. In many cases, these children, many of who entered the United States before they were 10 years old, only became aware of their immigrant status when they applied for a driver’s license or a scholarship.
This is a new generation of immigrants that is increasingly coming up before New Jersey immigration lawyers. This is a bolder generation that doesn't believe in apologizing for the fact that they accompanied their parents into this country years ago, have lived in the United States since, been educated here and consider themselves 100% American.
More such immigrant students are coming out to protest against their fellow students’ deportations. They're conducting sit-ins in Senate offices, and have made appearances at the offices of Senators John McCain and Harry Reid. Some of them even got together for a weeklong protest in Washington DC, which dominated with a mock graduation ceremony where all the students present proudly announced their illegal immigrant status. They're mobilizing into student groups, whose biggest intention is to get the deportations of fellow illegal immigrant students, suspended or canceled.
These “Gandhian” tactics are working. In several cases, these immigrant student groups have been able to campaign to cancel deportations for other students who had been detained or arrested for being in the country illegally.
At a time when some states are moving to equate the terms “illegal immigrant” with “criminal,” student children of illegal immigrants are coming out in large numbers to be counted and make themselves heard. It's a welcome trend, and New Jersey immigration attorneys believe it will spearhead legislation that will make these students obtain legal immigrant status.