Falling Through the Cracks: The Impact of Immigration Enforcement on Children Caught Up in the Child Welfare System
Wendy Cervantes (Former Staff)Child Abuse & Neglect Child Rights Children of Immigrants
According to the Pew Hispanic Center, approximately 5.5 million children in the U.S., including 4.5 million U.S.-born citizens, live in mixed-legal status families with at least one parent who is an unauthorized immigrant. These children are at risk of being separated from a parent at any time due to immigration enforcement measures. In some cases, a detained or deported parent’s ability to make decisions regarding their child’s care is compromised when their child enters the child welfare system, which can prompt a series of events leading to the termination of parental rights. This fact sheet, released by the Immigration Policy Center and First Focus in December 2012, outlines the unique challenges that federal and state immigration enforcement measures pose to child well-being and family unity, including the implications for children and families involved in the child welfare system.