According to new data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, there were more than 200,000 deportations from July 1, 2010 to Sept. 31, 2012 that involved a deported parent leaving children born as U.S. citizens behind. That number is roughly 25 percent of all deportations during this time frame.
That is a significant number of children who are displaced because of deportation proceedings against their parents. It causes a serious problem for both parties — the children are left without their mother or father and could be placed into the foster care system, while the parents could lose their parental rights to their own children.
There are some complicating factors here, two of which come down to the circumstances of our current immigration climate. The first is that the number of these “mixed-status families” has dramatically increased recently (there were 2.7 million in 2003, jumping to 4 million five years later). The second is that most of the deportations that were enacted by the U.S. government targeted individuals who were convicted of a crime.
Criminal history has become the proverbial “line in the sand” for immigration courts. Any criminal history can result in an illegal immigrant getting deported, or a citizenship or naturalization candidate being denied.
However, for deportation cases, criminal activity is especially harmful. Through the Secure Communities program, any criminal is checked against federal immigration databases and could be sent out of the country in an expedited process.
There is hope, though, for these individuals slated for deportation, many of whom have children. No matter what an immigration court decides, the illegal immigrant has the right to appeal the decision. With the aid of an experienced immigration lawyer, a deported individual could successfully appeal their removal from the country, thereby keeping their family together.
Source: ABC News, “A Quarter of Deportations Are of Parents of U.S. Citizens,” Ted Hesson, Dec. 17, 2012
- If you would like to learn more about how to appeal a deportation order, please visit our Los Angeles immigration and removal appeals page.