All children are created equal. When cultural norms or institutional policies view some lives as more important than others it’s up to all of us to hold them accountable. Our fight to protect these lost children is a humanitarian endeavor independent of political stance. We are hoping that all government representatives regardless of party affiliation will understand how an immigration policy that is not fair and just will negatively impact the lives of all U.S. citizens.

Luis H. Zayas, a psychologist and the dean of the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work, has examined many citizen children of undocumented parents, whom he refers to as “forgotten citizens,” a new generation of American exiles and orphans.

The first to arouse his interest in the issue hadn’t spoken at school in some 15 months, so great was her fear of revealing her parents’ status. He calls what he sees “psychological erosion”: clinical levels of depression, separation anxiety and low self-esteem.

As Joanna Dreby, a sociologist at the University at Albany, writes, even “the threat of deportability” can be devastating, plunging children into a state of constant dread and hypervigilance.