1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to secondary content



HS News Network

Immigration Enforcement Negatively Impacting Children of Deported Parents

Immigration Enforcement Negatively Impacting Children of Deported Parents

Photo: Children of undocumented immigrants

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

One of the many consequences of an aggressive immigration enforcement system is the separation of children, often U.S. citizens, from their unauthorized parents.

Take the case of Felipe Montes, a father who has spent the past two years fighting to reunite with his three young children, who were placed in foster care in North Carolina following Montes’ deportation to Mexico in late 2010. Such cases only scratch at the surface of a growing problem. Our immigration policies often fail to address the needs of millions of children whom they directly impact.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, approximately 5.5 million children in the United States, including 4.5 million U.S.-born citizens, live in mixed-legal status families with at least one unauthorized parent. These children are at risk of being separated from a parent at any time.

Parents facing removal must frequently make the decision whether to take their childrenwith them or leave their children in the U.S. in the care of another parent, relative, or friend. In many cases, a parent may determine that it is in their child’s best interest to remain in the U.S.

However, in some cases, a parent’s ability to make such decisions is compromised when their child enters the child welfare system, which can prompt a series of events leading to the termination of parental rights. The lack of consistent protocols across the different public systems that encounter separated families further exacerbates the problem.

The Immigration Policy Center and First Focus release a fact sheet outlining the unique challenges that federal and state immigration enforcement measures pose to child well-being and family unity, including the implications for children and families involved in the child welfare system.