San Diego Law Review

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



This Article discusses the complex and unusual way in which the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 defines "child" to exclude natural fathers and their illegitimate children from the scheme for preferred immigration status while granting the same status to natural mothers and their illegitimate children. The author begins by discussing the importance of the term "legitimate" in the act and goes on to explain three ways an illegitimate child may still meet the Act's definition of "child" by fulfilling three requirements for legitimization: 1) sufficient acts of legitimization, 2) the age requirement, and 3) legal custody. The author finishes by describing several recent legislative proposals that would amend the Act to grant immigration benefits to natural fathers and to their illegitimate children.