Bloomberg | By Emily Greenhouse
The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1868, guarantees American citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.” This means that people who are in the U.S. illegally give birth to children who are American citizens. On Thursday night, President Barack Obama announced an executive order on immigration, the centerpiece of which is a program aimed at these people: parents of U.S. citizens who are at risk of deportation.
The president’s action came as a relief to a huge number of undocumented immigrants living in the United States, as well as their supporters. Who’d want to separate parents from their kids?
But for one community of undocumented immigrants, Obama’s action felt bittersweet. I spoke by phone on Friday afternoon with Caroline Dessert, the executive director of the advocacy organization Immigration Equality, which was formerly known as the Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force. “What we heard last night is that between 4 and 5 million undocumented immigrants, who have been in the shadows for far too long, will get relief,” Dessert said. “We welcome that, but worry that 267,000 undocumented LGBT immigrants will be excluded from relief.”