In the endless debate about what should be done with regard to undocumented immigrants in the United States, stakeholders rarely stop to think about the impact of enforcement as it relates to child welfare.
According to First Focus, a bipartisan group that advocates for the consideration of children and families in all aspects of federal legislation and decision-making, about five million children in the U.S. have at least one parent who is an undocumented immigrant. This is a significant figure insofar as immigration enforcement, which history has shown to be swift and without consideration for child welfare.
“Caught Between Systems” is the title of a series of reports that First Focus has been releasing since 2010. These reports give recommendations on several aspects of immigration enforcement and how it affects the lives of children who essentially lose a parent to deportation.
The researchers from First Focus assume that the U.S. immigration system is irretrievably broken until comprehensive reform is achieved, which is an area of the law that Congress has not been able to agree on, but this does not mean that the children of undocumented immigrants and their families are entirely without recourse.
In 2013, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents initiated deportation proceedings against more than 70,000 parents of children born in the United States, leaving family immigration lawyers to help families figure out what happens to these children who sometimes live a single-parent household.
When an immigrant faces deportation or removal for any reason, he or she does not forfeit parental rights. First of all, deportation is a judicial proceeding that must be reviewed in court prior to physical removal. The due process that is guaranteed to everyone who must stand before a judge in the U.S. extends to parents and their children. To this effect, immigration judges should consider the harm that a U.S. child may suffer when separated from his or her undocumented parent.
Undocumented immigrants who are parents should discuss their family situations with seasoned immigration attorneys in San Diego who can provide assistance in case of deportation. Immigration court is not a typical legal venue. It requires certain knowledge, skill, and experience. With the help of a seasoned lawyer, child welfare can be protected.
In addition to family law, we are also experienced H-1B attorneys in San Diego, helping foreign professionals come to the U.S. for lawful temporary or permanent employment. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, please call (858) 874-0711 today. We are here to help.