Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Guardian to 800 Left-Behind Kids

No federal or state agency tracks what is happening to “immigration orphans,”  children born in the United States who are citizens and stay behind when their parents are deported, the Washington Postreports. Some end up in foster care, others with relatives or friends.

Nora Sandigo of Miami, a 48-year-old nursing-home operator, volunteered to take in two of them as a favor to a friend. Now she finds herself working non-stop as legal guardian to more than 800 children, the Washington Post reports.

She says the children go through wrenching trauma during their parents’ deportation, so they need a lot of attention and sometimes counseling. She calls herself a “Band-Aid.”

“All I can do is hold back some of the bleeding,” she told the Post. “There is no way I can give 812 children the love and attention they need, but it has to be me, the system is broken. Nobody else is taking responsibility for them.”

Sandigo and others who are concerned about the legal children of illegal immigrants are fighting to change U.S. immigration priorities to lessen the hardships.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.