Last week, we wrote an article on a report by The Center for American Progress and the University of Southern California’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration about how millions of people will be affected by the push for massive deportation, including U.S. citizen children. This article presents additional information on the damaging effects of separating families who have U.S. citizen children, as described in an American Immigration Council report.
Here are some key findings from the report:
- 1 million U.S. citizen children under the age of 18 live with at least one undocumented parent, with 5.9 million U.S. citizen children living with an undocumented family member.
- A child’s risk of having mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and severe psychological distress increases significantly following the detention and/or deportation of a parent. Latino citizen children with at least one detained or deported parent were found to have higher levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- The majority of children experienced at least four adverse behavioral changes in the six months following a raid or arrest. Compared to the previous six months, children cried or were afraid more often; changed their eating or sleeping habits; and/or were more anxious, withdrawn, clingy, angry, or aggressive.
- Families lose an average of 70 percent of their household income, within six months of a parent’s immigration-related arrest, detention, or deportation.
If a parent is unable to arrange childcare or custody prior to detention or deportation, the child may be taken by the state’s Child Protective Services (CPS) for placement and case management. An estimated 5,000 U.S. citizen children in foster care had a detained or deported parent in 2011.
It can even be difficult for parents to reunite with their children in the country of deportation, as the deported parents have to prove that they can provide for their children in a stable and safe environment. Many parents are forced to choose between terminating parental rights or bringing their children with them when they are deported. It is clear that deportation leads to severe financial and mental issues in citizen children, adversely affecting their well-being and quality of life.