The Undocumented Mexican Immigrant Family:
Lives Lived In Fear
Imagine, if you can, having to constantly be on the alert for someone who might turn you and your family in for not being in the United States legally. The prospect looms large upon the minds of the parents, not knowing whether today will be the day that they are separated from their children for many years to come or not. This is especially the case when one, or both parents do not have legal paperwork to be in the country, and their children were born in the United States. Their children are United States citizens, but they (the parents) are not! This dilemma is encountered on a daily basis by hundreds of thousands of Mexican families, whom are trying to better their lives where there are jobs to be had and the chance of a better life for their children.
All children deserve the opportunities given freely to the majority of their neighbors, whom by chance were born in the United States, and thus became the recipients of these opportunities. Of what opportunities do I speak? The opportunity to attend a school, receive an education, and even to attend an institution of higher learning, such as most state and private universities throughout the United States. Other opportunities, such as the right to vote for candidates for public office, the right to drive a car legally in the U.S., to become a member of a coalition pushing for legislative reform of existing laws, which have, in your opinion, become outdated, and no longer serve a practical purpose. These opportunities are denied to Mexican Immigrants without legal paperwork, even though they, too, have to survive in America today.
“Deportation of Mexican Illegal Immigrants has become epidemic in the past decade, especially with the passing of new legislation, such as the USA Patriot Act, instituting increased efforts to deport illegal immigrants” (Kanstrom, 2008), is quoted by the authors of this article, entitled “The Impact of Detention and Deportation on Latino Immigrant Children and Families: A Quantitative Exploration.” It came from the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, volume 32, issue 3, pages 341-361. Paper #262 was co-written by two Rhode Island College faculty members, Kalina M. Brabeck and Qingwen Xu, and was published by Faculty Publications dated 1-1-2010. It describes the impact that detention and deportation have on not only the well-being of the parents, but also on the children. The consequences show up in poorer academic achievement for some, possibly resulting from the detention, deportation, and alienation from the cohesive unit known as the family. The family is often the victims of racial and ethnic discrimination to make things even worse.
In conclusion, it can be easily understood why Mexican immigrants are wary of others outside their niche in society. Their move to the United States is pivotal in the continued cohesion of the family, and while very precarious, is advantageous to the families not caught. As long as the family remains intact, the members will suffer less emotion stress, and will be relatively well adjusted in their alien home.