The Huge Impact of Separating Immigrant Families on Local Communities

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Image courtesy of Kate Gardiner

Often, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detains and deports undocumented immigrants, they are also separating families. Keeping families together is not only beneficial for the immediate relatives, as well as children, but also the community. The Center for American Progress and the University of Southern California’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration wrote a report on how millions of people will be affected by the push for massive deportation.

  • Nationwide, about 16.7 million people in the country have at least one undocumented family member living with them in the same household.
  • More than 5.9 million citizen children, U.S. born and naturalized, live with at least one family member who is undocumented.
  • California, Texas, and Nevada, are the top three states that will be most heavily affected because they have the highest percent of U.S.-born population with at least one undocumented family member living with them.
  • States with smaller immigrant populations, such as Nebraska, Arkansas, and Kansas, will also be affected, because they have high percentages of naturalized citizens who have unauthorized family members living in the same household.

The effects of more anti-immigrant policies that lead to more deportation include:

  • Removing 7 million undocumented workers will result in a loss of $4.7 trillion in gross domestic product over a decade, and a loss of $900 billion in federal government revenues over the same time period.
  • Fear of deportation makes communities vulnerable because people are fearful of reporting crimes, coming out as witnesses, or reporting domestic violence abuses.
  • More children will enter the foster care system, children experience psychological trauma especially when they see their parent arrested, and increased housing insecurity and economic instability for the remaining family.

As the stats clearly show, deporting 11 million people will directly affect over 22 million people, many of whom are American citizens and/or American-born children. This will have a profound impact on an entire generation of children growing up without one or both of their parents, and it will affect American life socially as well as economically. Ultimately, it is not in the best interest of the United States to separate immigrant families.

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Sara Roncero-Menendez is the Online Editor for Long Island Wins. Prior to joining the Long Island Wins team, she graduate from NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and worked as a reporter for publications like Mashable, The Huffington Post, and PSFK. She became involved in immigration issues and advocacy while working towards her Masters degree at The University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign. After joining the Graduate Employee Organization Local 6300, she worked on helping international and undocumented students work with the administration to get fair financial aid and fellowship opportunities. Sara also works on issues of representation in mass media, including film and television, and works on media reviews and podcast.

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