In light of the Obama administration's recent initiatives to reform immigration policy, new reports and research about deportation effects on children are being circulated, with a recent report by the Center for American Progress asserting that deportation "rips families apart."
Recent research goes beyond statistics and provides real anecdotal evidence of children who are affected and troubled by deportation, or the threat of deportation, for their family members.
"A study released in July 2012 from SUNY University at Albany reveals the deep effect anxiety over immigration laws can have on children," according to U.S. Politics Today. "Researchers interviewed parents and children of Mexican families living in America, and found that children of immigrants showed an increase in crying, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, clingy behavior, general fear and anxiety, and fears of law enforcement officials."
Deportation numbers have risen under the Obama administration and are up from 190,000 in 2001 to nearly 400,000 per year in the last four years, according to the Center for American Progress. In the first six months of 2011, more than 46,000 parents of U.S. citizen children were deported. There looks to be change in the future, however.
"This week, the Obama team initiated what some immigrant activists and Obama critics alike have called the most significant change in the nation's immigration system in nearly 25 years," according to the Huffington Post. "Across the country, as many as 1.7 million young undocumented immigrants, brought to the country illegally as children, were expected to apply for temporary, renewable immigration relief and work permits, according to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis. The administration announced the deportation policy shift in June."
The consequences of immigration policy are widespread, and the Center for American Progress cites an increase in struggling single mothers and children placed in foster care as just two negative effects deportation has on families.
"With more than 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the country, these deportations affect a wide swath of the population, including the undocumented and the citizen alike," according to the Center for American Progress. "Undocumented immigrants do not live separate and walled-off lives from the documented, but instead live side by side in the same communities and in the same families. A total of 16.6 million people currently live in mixed-status families — with at least one unauthorized immigrant — and a third of U.S. citizen children of immigrants live in mixed-status families."