Some Houston charities are asking whether children are in the country legally before giving them toys.
The Houston Chronicle reports that several programs in the country’s fourth largest city require at least one member of the household to be a U.S. citizen.
The Salvation Army and a charity affiliated with the Houston Fire Department are among those that request birth certificates or Social Security cards for the children, according to the Chronicle. There are about 400,000 illegal immigrants in greater Houston.
Lorugene Young of Outreach Program Inc., which distributes toys collected by firefighters, said 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.
Immigration activists called the idea of a charity turning away children because of decisions made by their parents “disturbing.”
“Usually, people target the adults because the adults made the decision to migrate, where the children are just brought through no fault of their own,” said Cesar Espinoza, executive director of America for All, a Houston-based advocacy group.
I asked Jim Price of the Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte if they were conducting any similar checks. He said that while the local chapter must check if residents actually live here in the community, the agency does not check immigration status.