Determining Immigration Status Is a Tricky Business

April 15 2009, 9:47 AM

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).