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Determining Immigration Status Is a Tricky Business

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A new Pew report finds that more than one in 10 students in Colorado, Arizona, California, Nevada, and Texas are the children of undocumented immigrants–mainly coming from young families that are having kids at rates faster than previously believed, according to The Washington Post. A percentage of the kids, many of whom face poverty and lack health insurance, also claim U.S. citizenship because they were born in the country–a fact certain to complicate the nation’s already strained debate about immigration. The number of children born to undocumented immigrants in the United States was 4 million in 2008. Life can be tough for back-door Americans. Just ask Rene Saldivar, 41, of California, who gained citizenship through his Colorado-born father but could not prove his status to immigration officials. He was jailed in a legal system with fewer rights than typical U.S. courts, according to The Associated Press, which points out that people can be arrested without a warrant, be deported without a hearing, and, until January, didn’t even allow a free phone call to the accused. Against this backdrop, potentially violent extremist activity opposing immigration is also on the rise, according to the Department of Homeland Security (via Salon).

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