A friend of the family (currently aged 65 and a CEO of a medium sized firm) who lives in the USA, has recently confessed that he was in fact born outside of the USA, and his parents illegally brought him to the USA when they crossed the border many years ago. He was 1 year old at the time.


This leads me to wonder. In cases where a baby's parents have illegally brought a baby to the USA, and the baby has grown up in the USA and built a career here, would the grown adult be forced to move back to the nation they were born in?

  • Generally, the answer is that someone not born in the U.S., even if brought as an infant, is not a U.S. citizen and does not have legal status unless he acquires it later through his praents or in his own right. There are some really tragic cases that have occurred as a result where someone is deported to a country where they don't speak the language and have no connection.
    – ohwilleke
    Dec 27, 2016 at 2:24

3 Answers 3


I suspect that this person could get a green card under 8 USC 1259 or 1255a, since it seems that he entered in 1952 or so, which was long before the Reagan amnesty. These sections of the code concern those who entered the US before 1972 and 1982, respectively.

You might try asking on Expatriates as there are many people there who are familiar with immigration law.

A consultation with an immigration lawyer is probably advisable.


The option of "Cancellation of Removal" may be possible for people that are in this case (if they are subject to removal/deportation proceedings).


I can't speak for the USA but it is certainly possible to be removed from Australia in similar circumstances as an "unlawful non-citizen". See http://www.humanrightslaw.com.au/DeBrennanTomlinsonPearce2244/Page/31691/Removal,+Cancellation+and+Deportation.aspx

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