While the political pundits discuss immigration reform and enforcement in an election year, a new study reveals that immigration laws affect real people, including many U.S. citizens. A recent federal report includes new information that has reportedly never before been released by federal officials.
During the first six months of 2011, the U.S government deported more than 46,000 immigrants who said that they were a parent of a United States citizen. The report indicates that nearly 22,000 additional immigrants with a citizen child have been ordered removed from the country, but have remained.
The first time report on statistics involving the deportation of parents of U.S. citizens followed a congressional directive to begin collecting such data. Congress directed Immigration and Customs Enforcement to begin collecting the data in 2010. The recent statistics were presented in a report to Congress last week.
Federal immigration officials say that they have focused on bringing removal proceedings and other immigration efforts to deport immigrants with criminal convictions. The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, said this week that she is concerned about the U.S. citizen children left behind after a parent has been deported, but she says the majority of the parents of citizens who were deported in the collected data were immigrants with convictions.
She says that our number one concern should be about what is happening with the children. But she also says that “the plain fact of the matter is having a child in and of itself does not bestow citizenship.”
Critics of the current immigration policies say that the deportations of parents of U.S. citizens are tearing families apart. One U.S. Representative says the ICE report to Congress “is the latest example of the terrible toll our broken immigration system is taking on families.” She says that our country “can’t continue to claim to value families while deporting parents in the tens of thousands.” The Representative had requested that ICE compile the report.
In the next post, this blog will continue the discussion of the report concerning the deportation of parents of citizens, and some of the reaction to the policy.
Source: USA Today, “Report: 22% of deportees have U.S.-born children,” Daniel Gonzalez, The Arizona Republic, April 5, 2012