Not that it was needed, but a report yesterday from the Applied Research Center provides yet more evidence of the devastation caused by our country’s deportation policy. This time the focus is on the children of those deported, over 5,000 who are now housed in the foster care system with no clear pathway to reunite with their parents.
These children, many of whom should never have been separated from their parents in the first place, face often insurmountable obstacles to reunifying with their mothers and fathers. Though child welfare departments are required by federal law to reunify children with any parents who are able to provide for the basic safety of their children, detention makes this all but impossible. Then, once parents are deported, families are often separated for long periods. Ultimately, child welfare departments and juvenile courts too often move to terminate the parental rights of deportees and put children up for adoption, rather than attempt to unify the family as they would in other circumstances.
The current presidential administration has been incredibly aggressive when it comes to deportation and the rhetoric from most of the Republican candidates is equally ugly (see Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain). Those of us whose faith compels us to side with the immigrant (with or without papers) are left wondering what courses of action outside of politics we can pursue that best serve the dignity of the voiceless.
How do you think about this issue? Will immigration and deportation policy affect how you vote in the next presidential election? In addition to advocating for policy change – a critical need – are there other actions that can be taken?