Issues connected to citizenship and immigration have long been a source of often heated debate in the United States, and in the last couple of years it has re-emerged as a major political issue, with both Democrats and even some Republicans calling for the system to be reformed.
One of the consequences of the deeply flawed immigration system that is currently used by the United States is visible in US soccer, where a number of immigrant players have been deemed to be ineligible to represent Team USA in spite of the fact that they meet the FIFA eligibility criteria. Eighteen-year-old Diego Fagundez, who plays for the New England Revolution, is one of those affected by these rules.
Diego scored as many as 13 goals during 2012-2013, becoming the youngest player to ever have scored over ten goals in a MLS season and leading to much attention and interest in the idea of him playing for the national team of the United States – something that would not be allowed to happen as he does not have citizenship, even though he has lived in the country since he was just five years old.
Fagundez is one of millions of people who live in the United States and yet is not regarded as a citizen; and he is not the only sportsman to be caught in such a quandary. “The US immigration system is broken,” President Obama has said. “There are 11 million people living in the shadows.”