Congressman José E. Serrano released a study today showing that the Department of Homeland Security has deported more than 100,000 parents of children who are U.S. citizens. The report, which Serrano asked DHS to produce, also showed that this number could be higher if records were more complete.
"I am saddened, but not surprised to learn that our government, in its harsh anti-immigrant stance, has split hundreds of thousands of families apart over the past decade," Serrano said. "Over the years, I have said many times that our current deportation regime is inhumane and un-American. Now we have direct proof that this is the case."
Serrano has introduced the Child Citizen Protection Act, H.R. 182, which would untie the hands of immigration judges to take family situations into account during deportation proceedings. Currently, an immigration judge cannot balance family unity against deportation requirements. In many cases, this has led to one or both parents of child citizens being deported; forcing them to either leave the child behind or take the child to a country he or she never knew.
The DHS report said that between 1998 and 2007, the United States conducted 2,199,138 alien removals, and according to the data, 108,434 of those aliens were parents of U.S. citizen children. DHS was unable to produce all the data Serrano asked for, because it does not have adequate data. Serrano asked for information on when both parents were removed, length of time the immigrant parent had been in the country before removal, and how many of the citizen children stayed behind when one or both parents were deported.
"Today’s report is the first step towards putting a stop to the inhumane deportation practices of our government,” Serrano added. "I have trouble believing that any American would support their government breaking up families, or orphaning children. In essence, we know that this has happened at least 108,434 times. The citizens in those cases, the children, deserved better than to have their government send their parents away without regard to their welfare. America can do better."
"As we move towards comprehensive immigration reform, I will be working to ensure that this data is not overlooked, and these stories are not lost. We must bring our government’s policies in line with our values, which do not include breaking families apart."
The full DHS report can be found at: http://serrano.house.gov/media/PDFs/dhs_study_parent_removals.pdf
Rep. Serrano’s bill can be found at http://www.thomas.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:h.r.00182:
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