Wilner & O'Reilly, APLC
One Practice. One Focus. One Passion: Immigration Law.

Harm to children that result from parental deportation

Individuals that are deported from the United States due to alleged crimes are not the only ones that suffer. The children of parents deported often end up being separated from their parents because of government actions and may suffer lasting mental trauma.

One immigrant child recalls the shock she endured when her father was arrested in 2011 and taken to a detention center. The father was charged by federal authorities with illegal entry and is serving a five-year prison term. (He will likely be deported when his prison sentence ends.) The child felt she had nowhere to turn due to the fact that she was also an undocumented immigrant.

The father's arrest adversely affected others in the family as well.  Another daughter began experiencing behavioral problems and ran into problems with the law.  The family now has little contact with this girl as she has been sent to a juvenile facility.

Mental health researchers have observed that children in similar circumstances often are traumatized by what has occurred.  These families are often forced to endure economic hardship and family relation problems.  Challenges persist concerning the upbringing of the child as well.

While we have an idea as to how many individuals are deported each year, statistics are not as clear as to how many children are left behind with parents who have been deported.  However, more than 200,000 parents deported did report leaving children behind between July 2010 and December 2012.

There are concerns that Immigration and Custom Enforcement officers often make arrests of undocumented immigrants without taking into account the best interests of the children.  In the case of one immigrant child, she recalls seeing her mother arrested while escorting her children to school.   No officer stayed with the children after the arrest to make sure they were okay.  The mother has been separated from her children since that time.

Deportation defense attorneys will help families in remedying these situations.  As there is often only one chance for individuals to demonstrate that deportation should not occur, it's important to have the most knowledgeable attorney in this area one can find.

Source: New America Media, "After Parents' Deportation, U.S. Children Face Mental Struggles," Anthony Advincula, Feb. 18, 2014

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