Jennifer was born in Chattanooga, but was yanked out of the only life she knew when her mother took her to Guatemala last year. Work in Chattanooga was scarce because of the recession, her mother Inocenta Garcia said, even more so because she was in the country illegally.
Jennifer is one of untold numbers of children in the crosshairs of a vitriolic immigration debate: children born and raised in America — and thereby U.S. citizens by law — but forced to move to other countries when their parents are deported or pressured to leave.
Opponents of illegal immigration say that’s fair; the parents knew the risks when they crossed the border without permission in the first place. In their view, Jennifer is exactly where she belongs.
The discourse is so heated and the issue so divisive that some Americans patrol the border with Mexico on their own time, with their own weapons.