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Complications often experienced in family immigration

There are approximately 11.3 million undocumented immigrants residing in the United States, thousands of whom live in North Carolina. Depending upon the circumstances of an individual situation, the process of family immigration can be quite complicated, drawn out and frustrating for those involved. One couple in a southern state lost their status after their request for application to citizenship took more than 10 years.

The couple had emigrated from Ecuador along with three children, one of whom was a 6-month-old daughter at the time. In the years that followed, the parents worked hard to raise their children and send them to school. However, they lived in constant fear of deportation and kept their undocumented status a secret.

The situation caused them to be unable to return to their homeland to visit with other family members. They worried that their re-entry to the United States could be delayed up to a decade. Some of the complications were alleviated, at least, for their children, through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that helps undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States before they reach 16 years of age to avoid deportation and grant them a work permit for two years.

The daughter who was an infant when she was brought to the United States was now able to attend college at an in-state tuition rate because of her deferred status. However, she was unable to leave the country to go to Rwanda on a peace mission, causing further complication and frustration in her educational and career pursuits. North Carolina immigrants may have had similar family immigration experiences and find themselves facing legal issues due to their undocumented statuses. It is advisable to seek the help of an experienced legal professional in such matters.

Source:, "Undocumented Stories Part II", David Walker, Accessed on Nov. 7, 2015

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