“Shattered Families: The Perilous Intersection of Immigration Enforcement and the Child Welfare System,” a 2011 report by the Applied Research Center (now Race Forward)
“Immigration enforcement greatly increases the chances that families will never see each other again. Detaining and deporting parents shatter families and endanger children left behind. It’s unacceptable, un-American, and a clear sign that we need to revisit our immigration policies.” — Rinku Sen, Race Forward
Read Race Forward's Statement (3/30/17): "Spike in Immigration Raids, Deportations of Parents Will Shatter Families and Leave Thousands in Foster Care"
- Analysis of the problem
- Underlying causes
- Local differences
- Recommended solutions
Leer Resumen Ejecutivo de "Familias Destrozadas" en Español
- As of 2011, at least 5,100 children currently living in foster care who are prevented from uniting with their detained or deported parents.
- If nothing changes, 15,000 more children may face a similar fate in the next 5 years.
- Families are more likely to be separated where local police aggressively participate in immigration enforcement.
- Immigrant victims of domestic violence are at particular risk of losing their children.
- ICE detention obstructs participation in Child Protective Services’ plans for family unity.
- Most child welfare departments lack systemic policies to keep families united when parents are detained or deported.
After Colorlines’ mobilization of the public, Felipe finally won his case and brought his children home.
Download the PDF “Saving Familes: Unconvering Unintended Consequences, Mobilizing a Nation”
- Why It's Crucial to Keep Immigrant Families Together - Rinku Sen, 11/2/11
- U.S. Deports 46K Parents With Citizen Kids in Just Six Months - Seth Freed Wessler, 11/3/11
- Press Release on the significance of ARC’s findings
- Informational Webinar
- Felipe Montes Campaign (2012) — Felipe Montes was deported to Mexico, away from his wife and three children, the four of whom are U.S. Citizens. Colorlines covered the story, and Race Forward (formerly Applied Research Center) partnered with Presente on a campaign to save Felipe’s family. The North Carolina Division of Social Services (DSS) wanted to take his kids away from him forever, but with 20,000 signatures, we won, and they were reunited.
Stay Up To Date Via Colorlines Reporting
- Department of Homeland Security Issues Expanded Deportation Rules
Kenrya Rankin, 2/21/17
- How to Brace Yourself for an ICE Raid
Shawn Rea, 2/17/17
- Telemundo Town Hall Examines Impact of Deportations on Undocumented Immigrants
Sameer Rao, 2/13/17
- ICE Deports Mexican Mom, Separates Her From Children
Yessenia Funes, 2/9/17
What Can We Do?
- Federal, state and local governments must create explicit policies to protect families from separation.
- These policies should stop the clock on the child welfare process and the immigration enforcement process to ensure that families can stay together and allow parents to make the best decisions for the care and custody of their children.
For more solutions, read the full report here and take a look at our Informational Webinar.
Resources for Families
- “How to Protect Your Parental Rights from Detention” by Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project
Spanish / English (PDF)
- “FAQ: Detained Parents with Minor Kids” by Americans for Immigrant Justice (formerly, FIAC)
Spanish / English (PDF)
- “PROTECTING ASSETS & CHILD CUSTODY IN THE FACE OF DEPORTATION” by Appleseed
A Guide for Practitioners Assisting Immigrant Families (PDF)
- “NIÑOS: A guide to help protect US-born children in the event their parents are detained or deported” by Bret Helms
- "Torn Apart by Immigration Enforcement: Parental Rights and Immigration Detention" by Women's Refugee Commission
- "Disappearing Parents: A Report on Immigration Enforcement and the Child Welfare System" by University of Arizona. Bacon Immigration Law and Policy Program
- "The Impact of Immigration Enforcement on Child Welfare" by First Focus
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