U.S. Deports 46K Parents With Citizen Kids in Just Six Months

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 Between January and June of 2011, the United States carried out more than 46,000 deportations of the parents of U.S.-citizen children, according to previously unreleased federal data obtained by Colorlines.com’s publisher, the Applied Research Center. The figures reflect a striking increase in the rate of removals of parents and raise serious concerns about the impact of these deportations on children, many of whom are left behind.

Congress demanded two years ago that the Department of Homeland Security begin to compile this data by July 2010, but it had not been made available to the public. The Applied Research Center obtained it through a Freedom of Information Act request. The data on parental deportations does not reveal how many children each of these parents had, or whether their children remained in the U.S. or left with their mothers and fathers. However, the Applied Research Center has also found a disturbing number of children languishing in foster care and separated from their parents for long periods. After a year-long national investigation, we estimate there are at least 5,100 children in foster care who face barriers to family reunification because their mother or father is detained or deported. That number could reach as high as 15,000 in the next five years, at the current rate of growth.

The rising number of parental deportations has corresponded with an overall increase in immigration enforcement under the Obama administration; in fiscal year 2011, a record 397,000 people were deported. Yet parental deportation has also increased as a proportion of all removals. Between 1998 and 2007, the last period for which similar data is available, approximately 8 percent of almost 2.2 million removals were parents of U.S.-citizen children. The new data, released to the Applied Research Center in September, reveals that more than 22 percent of all people deported in the first half of this year were parents of citizen kids. More here.