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Obama Pledges Not to Divide Families While DHS Separates 4-year-old American From Her Parents

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Originally posted at America’s Voice Español:

The Spanish-language press reports today on a pair of contradictory developments.

On the last stop of his visit to Latin America, in El Salvador, President Barack Obama declared that “we have to make sure that we’ve got a legal immigration system that is effective and is not frustrating for families, doesn’t divide families.”

He added,

“we also have to make sure that those who are in the United States illegally at this point, but in some cases have been there for a long time, in some cases have children who were born in the United States and are United States citizens, that they have a pathway to get right by the law.”

Interestingly enough-it almost seemed as if he were talking about the case of 4-year-old girl Emily Samantha Ruiz, who was born in the United States to undocumented parents.

The girl returned to the United States from a visit to Guatemala with her grandfather. The grandfather was detained for a suspected past violation of immigration laws, while the child, instead of being turned over to her parents, was sent on a flight to Guatemala along with her grandfather. The story is another example of the precarious situation in which families of mixed immigration status live.

News agency EFE and Los Angeles daily La Opinión report on the case today. 

EFE writes that

“the recent deportation to Guatemala of Emily Samantha Ruiz, a girl born in the United States, has unleashed a media war between immigration officials and the girl’s parents, and opened a number of questions about the uncertain future of U.S. citizen children of undocumented parents.”

It adds,

“Ruiz, a 4-year-old girl, was de facto deported along with her grandfather on March 11th, and her case has fueled criticism of the Obama Administration, which pro-immigrant groups are asking to intervene in the girl’s favor.”

The agency notes that “Emily’s case leaves a lot of questions demanding answers, and soon, from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other federal agents with regards to the child’s rights, and the rights of her parents to reclaim her without respect to their own legal status in the country…At stake is not only the CBP’s image but also Emily’s future, and that of thousands of citizen children in the same condition.”