Imagine being a teenager who is a U.S. citizen or legal resident living in the Los Angeles area and worrying every day about the possibility of your parents being taken away from you by immigration authorities. This is the scenario two siblings have had to endure, but recently their worst fears became a reality when their father was deported. His deportation took place just five years after their mother was deported, leaving the children essentially orphaned here in the states.

These children aren’t the only ones going through this situation. According to the Applied Research Center, over 5,000 children who are U.S. citizens or legal residents have seen their parents deported; another 15,000 are likely to be in the same situation in the next five years.

The two teenagers, ages 17 and 14, were taken to school by their father in September. When he came back home, he was met by immigration officials who took him to a detention center and later deported him back to Nicaragua. The children came home to an empty house and were eventually taken in by a family friend who also happens to be an immigrant rights activist and has become their legal guardian. They have not given up hope that they will one day see their parents again.

The children’s legal guardian may wish to consult with an immigration attorney to discuss what can be done to allow the children’s parents to reenter the country and reunite their family. Doing so may minimize the stress and strain that these children are experiencing as a result of their parents being deported from the country.

Source: CNN, “Deportations: Missing parents, scared kids,” Cindy Y. Rodriguez and Adriana Hauser, Oct. 27, 2013