In a story at America's Wire, Marjorie Valbrun depicts the inexorable, agonizing fate of more than 5,000 children of immigrants who are languishing in state foster care because their parents were living in the United States illegally and were detained or deported by federal immigration authorities.
… These children can spend years in foster homes, and some are put up for adoption after termination of their parents’ custody rights. With neither state nor federal officials addressing the problem, thousands more are poised to enter the child welfare system every year.
“They can be dropped into the foster care system for an indefinite period of time,” says Wendy D. Cervantes, vice president for immigration and child rights policy at First Focus, a bipartisan advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. “This causes severe long-term consequences to a child’s development. It has a negative impact on the country as a whole and a direct impact on taxpayers. The fact that these children have parents means they shouldn’t be in the system in the first place.”
A recent report by the Applied Research Center (ARC), a national racial-justice think thank, found that when immigration enforcement methods intersect with the child welfare system, consequences for immigrant families can be devastating and long-lasting.
Jailed or deported parents are prevented from reuniting with their children, and parents held in immigration detention centers are penalized for being unable to attend hearings in family court. They are also penalized for not meeting court-ordered requirements for regaining custody of their children. The requirements are impossible to meet from jail …
Read Marjorie Valbrun's entire story at America's Wire.