What can sometimes get lost in the conversation of deporting an illegal immigrant is the impact it has on the immigrant’s children. If deportation is confirmed, a person may choose to take their children back to their country of origin. But there are many instances where the child and his or her parents are separated, often permanently. Whether a child is left in the hands of a relative or a foster home, deportation can break families apart.
If a relative is unavailable; if the parent is detained for an extended period; or if the illegal immigrant is rushed through deportation proceedings (and thus removed from the country), a parent can lose all rights to his or her child. That is a devastating reality for any parent, may they be in the country legally or not. A proposed California law, called SB 1064, looks to change that, bolstering the ability of an illegal immigrant to retain paternal rights of their children.
According to a Homeland Security report, there were more than 100,000 parents of U.S-born children who were deported during a decade-long period ending in 2007. SB 1064 would grant extended periods of review for parents that are either tabbed for deportation, suffering prolonged incarceration or actually deported to their country of origin.
In addition, SB 1064 would grant leniency in retaining parental rights if a parent has made “reasonable efforts” to regain custody, or if the courts decide it would be detrimental to the child to remove the parent’s legal right to them.
Often what happens in a deportation or detainment case is the parent struggles to meet child welfare requirements to retain parental rights. It is not always because of a lack of effort by the parent, and more their circumstances — something that SB 1064 looks to rectify. We will continue our discussion of SB 1064 in our next post, taking a look at the implications of what this potential law would mean on a local and national level.
Source: Multi-American, “In California, an attempt to keep some deportees’ children out of foster care,” Leslie Berestein Rojas, Mar. 28, 2012