Deportation Places Thousands of Children in Foster Care

Not that it was needed, but a report yesterday from the Applied Research Center provides yet more evidence of the devastation caused by our country’s deportation policy.  This time the focus is on the children of those deported, over 5,000 who are now housed in the foster care system with no clear pathway to reunite with their parents.

These children, many of whom should never have been separated from their parents in the first place, face often insurmountable obstacles to reunifying with their mothers and fathers. Though child welfare departments are required by federal law to reunify children with any parents who are able to provide for the basic safety of their children, detention makes this all but impossible. Then, once parents are deported, families are often separated for long periods. Ultimately, child welfare departments and juvenile courts too often move to terminate the parental rights of deportees and put children up for adoption, rather than attempt to unify the family as they would in other circumstances.

The current presidential administration has been incredibly aggressive when it comes to deportation and the rhetoric from most of the Republican candidates is equally ugly (see Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain).  Those of us whose faith compels us to side with the immigrant (with or without papers) are left wondering what courses of action outside of politics we can pursue that best serve the dignity of the voiceless.

How do you think about this issue?  Will immigration and deportation policy affect how you vote in the next presidential election?  In addition to advocating for policy change – a critical need – are there other actions that can be taken?

9 thoughts on “Deportation Places Thousands of Children in Foster Care

  1. I agree that these are big questions. One question I have is in regards to the choice of the parents. If they are being deported, can they choose to bring their children with them? I realize they might not want to choose this because they want their children to stay in America, but can they choose this?

    1. From what I’ve read, they cannot choose to bring their kids with them because they are taken to a detention center. In some cases it takes a year or longer to be reunited with their children.

  2. Another thing that wasn’t mentioned, when these children are placed into the “system” they are often done so by caseworkers who often have no information about the child. One of the biggest errors that happen early in the placement process is that caseworkers often classify these children as US citizens on all intake paperwork when the child is in fact not a US citizen. (Case worker sees an infant, or toddler and assume them to be an “anchor baby”…) Doesn’t seem like a big deal, BUT falsely claiming citizenship is grounds to forever deny citizenship to someone who is attempting to apply. So these children grow up believing that they are American Citizens and only find out as young adults that they are not. Then when they try to go through the proper channels and become US citizens, they are denied it on the grounds that they have been “Falsely claiming citizenship”. Then they also become in danger of being deported. Can you imagine? Possibly not even speaking your native tongue, growing up in the US, totally familiar with US culture, and now suddenly at risk of being deported to a foreign county?! Insane. When people talk about immigration policies they do not always take into consideration how many “layers” are involved.

  3. What do Bachmann and Cain have to do with the current deportation policy and current immigration law? N O T H i N G
    Hasn’t Bachmann adopted or brought 20+ children in foster care into her home?
    Are Americans now at fault for the the difficult results of illegal decisions and actions of other adults?
    It doesn’t seem to me like pandering to and ignoring the illegal decisions of the initiators of the crime helps resolve anything but only makes the situation worse as more are emboldened to make the same law breaking choice.
    Someone is getting a free innocent pass when they started it all.
    God can work through difficult situation if we look by faith.

    1. Tim, my citing of Bachman, Cain, and the current presidential administration was simply to show how few political options remain for those of us who want to see comprehensive immigration reform.

      I find your opinion that undocumented immigrants are “getting a free pass when they started it all,” to be rather simplistic. There are many factors that compel people to cross America’s borders illegally, including our desire for cheap labor. I recommend the website for a level-headed but decisively Christian engagement with this important topic.

  4. David
    You didn’t just site them at all. You called them “equally ugly”. That is far worse than “simplistic” on my part. Using a sad foster care situation as rational to let anyone in that wants to come in to this country is severely warped.

    I know, but you probably refuse to recognize that ” comprehensive immigration reform” is nothing more than a plan to USE immigrants to gain political votes by pandering to their illegal behavior, not just in crossing the border but in falsification of documents, etc. There is no logic for it that would demonstrate that it would benefit the people of this country. Minor reform may be needed, but “comprehensive” is equal to corruption. In many cities the function of comprehensive reform is fully in place along with the corruption.

    1. 3 quick points and then a question:

      1- By “citing” I mean I linked to articles that provided comments they had made about immigration. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.
      2- I’m not using the “foster care situation” to “let anyone in that wants to come in to this country.” Again, I’m sorry if that wasn’t clear.
      3- We differ significantly in our understanding of comprehensive immigration reform. I happen to believe it would benefit both American citizens and undocumented immigrants.

      I attempt to approach this issue first as a Christian. I don’t assume this is a starting point you share, but if it is could share how your faith shapes your thoughts on this issue? Thanks.

  5. I approach the issue first as a Christian.
    Illegal immigration is fundamentally a lawbreaking, stealing and dishonesty issue. To excuse or pander to these realities does not benefit the perpetrators. It is also corruption from a spiritual point of view. To speak of these folks in many ways about their presence and never speak of their lawbreaking, stealing and dishonesty, as comprehensive immigration people do, is pure corruption at the heart level. If Jesus were here, he would tell them to go and break the law, steal, and lie no more. This is just keeping it simple.

    Comprehensive immigration reform has no more compassion for the illegal than Planned Parenthood has compassion for the pregnant mother or her child (blob).

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