Between January and June of 2011, the United States carried out more than 46,000 deportations of the parents of U.S.-citizen children, according to previously unreleased federal data obtained by Colorlines.com’s publisher, the Applied Research Center. The figures reflect a striking increase in the rate of removals of parents and raise serious concerns about the impact of these deportations on children, many of whom are left behind.
Congress demanded two years ago that the Department of Homeland Security begin to compile this data by July 2010, but it had not been made available to the public. The Applied Research Center obtained it through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The data on parental deportations does not reveal how many children each of these parents had, or whether their children remained in the U.S. or left with their mothers and fathers. However, the Applied Research Center has also found a disturbing number of children languishing in foster care and separated from their parents for long periods. After a year-long national investigation, we estimate there are at least 5,100 children in foster care who face barriers to family reunification because their mother or father is detained or deported. That number could reach as high as 15,000 in the next five years, at the current rate of growth.
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