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The Grinch Who Checked My Citizenship Status

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Apparently, even Santa isn’t immune to the anti-immigrant hysteria brewing in the nation. The Houston Chronicle reports today that some toy drives are checking immigration status before they will give a family toys.When our economy headed south I knew the anti-immigrant backlash was going to get worse. Unfortunately, in tough economic times, people always lash out at the most vulnerable and powerless in our society. And you can’t get any more vulnerable and powerless than an undocumented child living in poverty.According to the Chronicle, the Salvation Army and a charity affiliated with the Houston Fire Department are among those that consider immigration status, asking for birth certificates or Social Security cards for the children.The point isn’t to punish the children but to ensure that their parents are either citizens, legal immigrants or working to become legal residents, said Lorugene Young, whose Outreach Program Inc. is one of three groups that distribute toys collected by firefighters.The point isn’t to punish children? How do you explain to a 5-year old that he can’t have a toy because he doesn’t have a green card?  Sure does take the Christ right out of Christmas.

Melissa del Bosque joined The Texas Observer staff in 2008. She specializes in reporting on immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border. Her work has been published in national and international publications including TIME magazine and the Mexico City-based Nexos magazine. Melissa is a 2014-15 Lannan Fellow at The Investigative Fund.