ICE Deported 46,000 Immigrants with U.S. Citizen Children Last Year

immigrant childImmigration enforcement and deportation have a particularly devastating impact on mixed status families, that is, families who have one or more direct members who are undocumented. When parents are deported, families face impossible decisions about whether their family will be separated or whether U.S. citizen kids will be de facto deported along with their parents.

New numbers released in a report by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) show the extent of the issue. The new report finds that, between January and June 2011, ICE deported over 46,000 immigrants who claimed to have at least one U.S. citizen child.

The report, which was submitted to Congress by ICE, is part of an effort to collect more information tracking the deportation of immigrants with U.S.-born children.  In addition to the 46,486 parents removed during the first two quarters of FY2011, ICE sought final orders of deportation, exclusion, or removal for 39,918 parents of U.S. citizens.  Nearly 22,000 final orders were obtained.

If the numbers remain constant through FY2011, it means that nearly 100,000 immigrants who claim to have at least one U.S. citizen child will have been deported.  These numbers are incredibly high, particularly since a 2009 report from the DHS Office of Inspector General estimated that slightly more than 100,000 parents of U.S. citizen children had been deported between 1998 and 2007.

The impact of the deportation of a parent can be devastating for kids and their parents.  It can also be expensive for taxpayers.  In a January 2012 report entitled “Shattered Families,” the Applied Research Center found that over 5,100 children of immigrants have ended up in foster care after their parents had been detained or deported.

Many people are hoping that new guidelines on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion will allow immigrant families to remain together in the U.S.  Parents of U.S. citizen children can make the case for relief from deportation, but only if they can demonstrate they have been in the U.S. for a long period of time and can make a compelling case for remaining in the U.S.

“I believe it is critical that the new guidelines are interpreted as generously as possible by agency officials to prevent even more families from being torn apart,” said Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, in a statement from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC).

michele waslin“It is a tragedy. The President’s policy of sparing long-time residents from deportation so that we can concentrate our resources on removing serious criminals needs to be fully implemented and followed.  We are putting our future at risk every day that we delay serious reform and continue shoveling more good people into deportation and their children into foster care,” said Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), chair of the CHC Task Force on Immigration.

This new deportation data flies in the face of those who believe that having a U.S. citizen child protects undocumented parents from deportation.

Michele Waslin
Immigration Impact 


  1. Annette says

    Birthright citizenship is a concept established hundreds of years ago when people couldn’t travel easily from country to country. It came from European common law, where people who were attacked by invaders or oppressed by their own leaders had to pack up their families and travel to other countries. Birthright citizenship allowed them to establish their family lineage as citizens in their new homeland. The centuries old policy was formally codified in the U.S. by the Fourteenth Amendment to ensure children of slaves newly freed by the Thirteenth Amendment would be citizens themselves.
    In today’s modern world when you can fly to the US while pregnant, have a baby, and instantly access all benefits of citizenship, it’s no longer a functional policy. In fact, the Fourteenth Amendment was never even designed to be used that way, although the courts have interpreted it so. Today, birthright citizenship creates an incentive for people to bypass immigration controls. When it was written, people had to walk or sail to get to another country. Now they can fly into the U.S. for the explicit purpose of having a baby (“maternity tourism”). If a woman sneaks across the border (or even comes here on a legal visit) and has a baby, the US citizens can be saddled with the cost of the childbirth, and that “instant citizen” is entitled to all of our social programs that we pay for with taxes, such as welfare, federal Section 8 housing, Medicaid, Medicare, ObamaCare, social security disability and more. If the parents are deported or choose to put their kid with another family, public money for foster care can be paid to relatives, even if the mom and dad are still living with their kid. If the child becomes disabled in any way, he or she is entitled to 100% complete Social Security Disability for the rest of his or her life! The parent may have never even paid into the Social Security system, yet their kid can help suck the life out of it. Hispanic illegal immigrants can (and do) demand that their kids be educated in Spanish instead of English, which costs the public even more, and the kids can even get free college thanks to American taxpayers. Illegal aliens and even visitors and tourists can get all this for their kids, even if they’ve never paid a dime into the system! They can even receive Social Security if they are raised back in their country of origin and have a car accident back there. Why should we pay them for the rest of their lives just because their mother traveled here to make sure her kid would be born on our soil?
    Clearly, our birthright citizenship policy has to be changed so that it no longer creates such an incentive for breaking immigration law. It’s archaic, outdated and a terrible enticement for abuse by people all around the world. It allows aliens to jump ahead of the immigration line because all those babies and kids are automatically a priority over potential adult workers who could come here and actually help our country. And each one of those “instant citizens” can sponsor the immigration of all of their family members (a.k.a.: anchor babies). This birthright citizenship policy, along with amnesty for illegal immigration, is just not fair to those immigrants who abided by the laws, nor is it fair to those who are still waiting to come here. Updating the policy to prevent flying into the country to birth an instant citizen supports the fundamental principles the U.S. is based on. When the 14th Amendment was written, there were no planes available to pop into the US to have a baby. There were also no nuclear bombs and terrorists vying to destroy our country. The world is a different place today. The world’s population is out of control and causing long term environmental damage. Unbridled immigration could easily be the death of our democracy, and certainly will be used by the wealthy to further degrade our hard won protections for families and workers. We have workplace protections not found in third world nations whose citizens work 16 hour days, don’t have safety standards or minimum pay, and send their kids to jobs instead of school. Is that what we want? If so, let’s open up the borders, because the worlds billions would love to come pouring into our country to make it the way they think it should be, including outvoting progressives who believe in living wages and installing Sharia law and other totalitarian policies we disagree with. But if you think our way of life is good, then we need to model it for other countries, supporting the growth of democracy and sustainability both here and elsewhere. To do so, we need to maintain limits on immigration, eliminate birthright citizenship for lawbreakers, and do all we can to help the downtrodden in other countries that have ever increasing populations of poor people, and rich plutocrats who take advantage of the economic disparities.
    Furthermore, it does not solve the world’s problems to let the rich masters of overpopulated countries off the hook for the extreme economic hardship they’ve created for the poor in their countries. Instead, it enables those who benefit from poverty in other countries to keep ripping off citizens of those countries and the US. The question is, why are liberals so he!!bent on helping only those who cheat to become American citizens? Why doesn’t the left care about all those kids whose parents DIDN’T break into this country? This dysfunctional policy doesn’t serve us well, nor does it forward what should be our truly progressive priority, which is to promote and support viable middle and working classes in poverty stricken countries.
    By the way, other countries have recently changed their policies to limit birthright citizenship to current citizens. Our country will eventually do it as well, but it naïve liberals will likely to do their best to let millions more illegal aliens steal from us first. If we want to reclaim our government for the common American, we need to agree to create public policy that forwards that goal. Birthright citizenship is just one of the many inducements for illegal aliens to break into our country. If we’re going to have immigration policy at all, and pay so much money to manage immigration, then we need to stop allowing illegal aliens to do “end runs” around our laws.

  2. ReverendDraco says

     As well they should be deported, along with the illegal children. . . note that I didn’t say US Citizen children, because they’re not.

    The Criminal Trespasser Apologists love breaking out the 14th Amendment to justify giving undeserved citizenship to the children of illegals. . . but they never quote the entire applicable clause. . . so I will.

    “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the
    jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the
    state wherein they reside.”

    Notice the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” Therein lies the deception – Criminal Trespassers are not subject to the jurisdiction of the US – they are, however, subject to the jurisdiction of their country of origin. . . Therefore, their offspring are also subject to the jurisdiction of said country. . .

    It isn’t rocket surgery, people. . .

  3. William Hamilton says

    At least the Obama administration is working on eleminating the instances in which Parents were shipped out of the country without being allowed to collect their children.  Under Bush, after mass ICE raids, children came home after school to empty apartments, often when half the neighborhood was empty’

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