Parents lying about immigration status to their children

Let me discuss the case of Carmen Figueroa, a woman who was born in 1971 in Mexico but was brought illegally to the United States by her parents (the exact date is not known but apparently she came when she was young).  In order to build a life, like many undocumented individuals do, they bought fraudulent documents for her and her brother, including a birth certificate and Social Security card.  They also told the kids that they were American citizens.  These two individuals were so convinced that they were US-born citizens that they both pursued careers with the government: she with the Arizona Department of Public Safety and he with the US Air Force.  What is shocking is that all this time, no one used eVerify or any other validation mechanism to check their immigration status.  Only recently when the brother applied for a passport, the authorities discovered that they were not born in the United States, and hence, present illegally in the country.

Since even Arizona DPS or United States Military never doubted the authenticity of their birth certificates and SS cards, it is fair to assume that these two individuals believed that they were genuine, though, these are not kids and through family conversations and such, should have known by now that they were born in Mexico.  Or maybe they did learn the truth, but were fine with the ruse because it allowed them all the privileges and benefits of US citizens.  Carmen Figueroa has already lost her job and maybe charged with a variety of crimes.  Her being an undocumented immigrant may also create headaches for Arizona authorities because all the cases that she has handled so far might be challenged by attorneys who represent people convicted.  It is not known what will happen to the brother who is in the Military but the policy is dishonorable discharge for fraudulent enlistment and then file criminal charges.

So did the parents really help their children by supplying them with fake papers and lying to them?  Well, apparently they dragged them across the border for a better life, but actually completely destroyed it for them.  These two individuals came so long ago that they would have been eligible for the Reagan Amnesty, which they did not even bother to consider believing that they were citizens.  Now that it has been conclusively proved that they used false documents and claimed to be US citizens (they may have also voted in elections), they will never be able to apply for naturalization.  In fact, unless they can really convince an immigration judge that they always believed that they were citizens (a very high bar because by this age most Americans with family overseas, particularly in Mexico, would have traveled there for vacation or to meet extended family), they may find it impossible to even legalize their status under any type of immigration reform when implemented into law.  Most likely they will also face deportation proceedings.  The moral of this story is that if you are in a situation like them, have a discussion with your parents and other family members to make sure that your story is true.  If you are a parent who told a lie to your children, well, it is time to give them the bad news.  And finally, if you have any doubt about your citizenship status, just use eVerify to find out your citizenship status.