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November 2, 2011

Report reveals scope of children separated from parents as a result of immigration enforcement

A new report from the Applied Research Center (ARC) conservatively estimates that there are more than 5,000 children currently living in foster care whose parents have been either detained or deported. To date, there has been no national data available on the numbers of children impacted by the intersection of immigration enforcement and child welfare systems.

ARC's “Shattered Families” reveals historic levels of detention and deportation which, combined with a clear lack of child welfare policies, are resulting in the separation of thousands of families across the United States. ARC, a racial justice think tank that publishes Colorlines.com, projected that at least 15,000 more children will face these threats to reunification in the next five years, if the same rate holds true for new cases.

“Immigration enforcement greatly increases the chances that families will never see each other again,” said ARC President Rinku Sen. “Detaining and deporting parents shatter families and endanger the children left behind. It’s unacceptable, un-American, and a clear sign that we need to revisit our immigration policies.”

“We have real families here in Washington State that are suffering the tragic consequences of permanent separation due to harsh immigration policies,” said OneAmerica Executive Director Pramila Jayapal who has been speaking about this report with local public defenders who represent parents.

ARC's report identified at least 22 states across the country, including Washington, where children in foster care are separated from their parents because of immigration enforcement. In fiscal year 2011, the United States deported a record-breaking 397,000 people and detained nearly that many. According to never before released federal data acquired by ARC through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, a growing number of deportees are parents. In the first six months of 2011, the federal government removed more than 46,000 mothers and fathers of U.S.-citizen children.

For the first time, ARC’s “Shattered Families” provides evidence on the scale and scope of this growing national problem which is not confined to border jurisdictions or states. 


For more information, contact OneAmerica Communications Director Charlie McAteer, 206-452-8402, charlie@weareoneamerica.org

To schedule an interview with report authors, please contact ARC Communications Manager Rebekah Spicuglia, 646-490-2772, media@arc.org

About OneAmerica

OneAmerica, formerly Hate Free Zone, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that advances the fundamental principles of democracy and justice by building power within immigrant communities.



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