The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1868, declares that all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.
Citizen-children of mixed-status families grow up living almost-average American lives; however, The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that more than four-million citizen-children are forgotten in the discordant immigration debate, forcing these children to live under the constant threat of their family suddenly being deported, leaving parents to face the impossible decision: make their child an exile or an orphan.
In Forgotten Citizens, Luis Zayas holds a mirror to a nation in crisis, providing invaluable perspectives for practitioners, decision makers, and those brave enough to look. Zayas draws on his as extensive work as a psychological evaluator to present the most complete picture yet of the mental health and lasting trauma experienced by US citizen-children who are threatened with their fate.
In an early chapter we meet Virginia, a kindergartener so terrified of revealing her family’s status that she took her father’s warning don’t say anything so literally she hadn’t spoken in school in over a year. Children like Virginia have been silenced and their stories largely overlooked in the broader debates about immigration policy – as this book demonstrates, we can no longer afford to ignore them.