Though American immigration law did change in 1976, it merely limited the number of immigrants from the Western Hemisphere who could obtain permanent visas. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the law since at least 1924 has barred minor children from petitioning for permanent residence status on their parents' behalf.
Love's birth in the U.S. couldn't have helped to reunite her family in America, say immigration lawyers contacted by Mother Jones. And, they add, if the Bourdeaus were in the U.S. legally on a permanent visa, they would have been able to bring the kids, according to the law at the time.
Love said she didn't know if there was anything about her birth that allowed her parents to remain in the the country.
"They really never really talked about that," she said.
She maintained that her parents entered the country legally on tourist visas. She said she doesn't know why her siblings didn't come with her parents other than perhaps they wanted to get settled first.
"My parents came with a legal visa. I was born. They applied for citizenship legally. They became U.S. citizens," Love said. "They went through a legal pathway that worked for them."
Love said she will continue to tell her parents' story on the campaign trail. "I've been completely truthful about my story," she said.
On the heels of Wednesday's events, the Love campaign released a poll showing she has surged to a 51 percent to 36 percent lead over Matheson. A Deseret News/KSL poll in June by Dan Jones & Associates showed Matheson leading Love 53-38.
Her campaign said Virginia-based Public Opinion Strategies conducted a survey for her and the National Republican Congressional Committee on Sept 10-11. The poll questioned 400 "likely" 4th District voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.
Matheson campaign spokeswoman Alyson Heyrend called it a "totally biased internal poll. Our opponent is clearly having a bad week and a bad day in particular."
Heyrend said Love is "flinging" allegations at Matheson, and "this is a rather desperate attempt to try and regain some kind of control over her campaign."
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