According to an April 20, 2012 New York Times op-ed piece, “Deporting Parents Hurts Kids,” President Obama’s assurance in May 2011 that U.S. deportation efforts would focus on “violent offenders and people convicted of crimes; not families, not folks who are just looking to scrape together an income” is simply not true.
A Department of Homeland Security report released two weeks says that from January to June 2011, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) deported 46,486 parents who claimed to have at least one child who is an American citizen. These deportations appear to be in keeping with the administration’s quota of 400,000 deportations each year. According to the Times, 45 percent of those deported in 2011 were not apprehended for any criminal offense. Of those who were, most were arrested for minor offenses, not violent crimes.
Parental deportation causes deep and irreversible harm in the lives of their children: loss of parental income, housing and food insecurity, increased anxiety, frequent crying, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, withdrawal and anger, psychic scarring, reduced school attainment, greater difficulty in maintaining relationships, social exclusion and lower earnings. Studies show that these parents are extremely dedicated to their children’s well-being and development. Undocumented parents typically work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, at the lowest of wages. Deporting them worsens the already precarious lot of their children.
Read the article. Write your members of Congress.