Supreme Court confronts 70 year old immigration law – warning! confusing! enigma!
November 12, 2010 § Leave a comment
If Ruben Flores-Villar’s mom had grown up in the US instead of his dad, he’d almost certainly be a US citizen. The problem is that his father, not his mother, is a citizen. The law, constructed some 70 years ago, makes it harder for children of unwed American fathers to claim citizenship. The Supreme Court heard arguments in Flores-Villar’s appeal of his criminal conviction for violating immigration law. The 36-year-old was born in Mexico, but raised by his father and grandmother in San Diego. He was deported after he was denied citizenship and after he served a prison term on the immigration charges. His attorney said the law perpetuates outdated “gender stereotypes” about caring for children in a time when many more single fathers raise children. The Obama administration urged the court to uphold the conviction.
American Citizens Abroad says 40,000 children are born outside the US to an American parent every year. Flores-Villar is claiming discrimination on behalf of his father. OK. NOW HERE COMES THE REASON WHY PEOPLE NEED IMMIGRATION LAWYERS: For people born before 1986, their American fathers had to have lived in the US for 10 years, at least five of them after the age of 14, in order for their citizenship to be passed on. Flores-Villar’s father could not meet the second part of that requirement because he was only 16 when his son was born. American mothers need only have lived in the U.S. continuously for a year before the birth of a child. The 1986 changes to immigration law reduced the total residency requirement for fathers to five years, two of which after the age of 14. By contrast, a child born in the United States is a U.S. citizen regardless of the parents’ nationality, as is a child born abroad to two American citizens if one of them has ever lived in the United States. Another oddity is that the law imposes the longer residency period on married couples when one spouse is not a citizen. CONFUSED YET? WE AWAIT THE COURT’S DECISION … (AP report excerpted with author’s comments)