Cold cold cold

I saved the nice message. Gregory from Fishtown, saying "The ICE people should look in a mirror." This, after my column Monday about a Brazilian couple, here 10 years illegally, whose daughter, a U.S. citizen, was left severely brain-damaged after choking on some food.

They wanted ICE to begin deportation proceedings so they could get before an immigration judge and plead their case. There's an exception to "removals" that they qualify for - sending them back to Brazil would cause extraordinary hardship to their daughter, their attorney argues.

And there's little debate that the care she'd get back home is nothing like the care she gets here.

But my voicemails leaned heavily toward getting rid of the whole family - kid, her siblings, parents, don't let the door hit you.

"My heart bleeds, but my wallet says 'no,' " went one response. That was from one with heart.

Most couldn't give a damn because they themselves are hurting, they're out of work, they're angry at those who come here and don't follow the rules.

Even if the government doesn't seem to be following the rules.

To get before a judge, the couple had to first be given a notice to appear by an ICE enforcement officer. But when they turned themselves in, ICE conferred then cut them loose. No day in court if you can't get on the docket.

They're still stuck in the rabbit hole.

They want to stay here legally. They want to be in a better position to help their daughter, an innocent. 

As I was putting the piece together, I wondered what was the history behind granting citizenship to people born here of parents without documentation. Read all about it.. (The Congressional debate is worth reading about if only for the discussion of the relative merits of German immigrants vs. Chinese immigrants.)

Birthright citizenship goes back in U.S. law to the 1860s, and has been reaffirmed by the courts ever since 1898 and the Wong Kim Ark  case.

And, of course, it's under attack. Two Republican presidential candidates said at last week's debate that the 14th Amendment needs revisiting - that would be Herman Cain and Tim Pawlenty.

GOP Congressmen have introduced legislation that would cut loose 'anchor babies,' as they call them.

There are a lot of anchor babies. The Pew Hispanic Center estimated that 340,000 children were born to unauthorized aliens in 2008 -- about 8 percent of births that year.

But the law doesn't make exception for all of those babies - just those who would be extraordinarily hurt by their parents' deportation. Like three year old Cindy Borges-De Jesus, the subject of Monday's column.

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