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Deportation damage: Children are collateral damage

It's something few people want to consider, but it happens every day. The parents of children are being deported, leaving their children in America while they're sent back to their home countries. What happens to these children, who are essentially victims of the United States immigration policies?

A 2015 report discussed the fact that around 500,000 parents of American citizens, all children, were deported between 2009 and 2013. Many people who were deported were the children's fathers. While the media may focus on what the immigrant did wrong, one thing that isn't often focused on is who the immigrant leaves behind. By deporting a parent, a child may have no guardian or could be left in a single-family home with no income.

As a result of deportation, children suffer from anger, depression and problems at school. Their living situations might become strained as they learn to live without their parents.

Unauthorized immigrants can be a danger to the United States, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency typically only targets those who are identified as security risks. This includes people who have certain misdemeanor or felony charges against them. Even when that's the case, those with families still often leave their children behind. That often takes away financial support and is emotionally straining for children.

If you're an undocumented immigrant or are facing deportation, you still have rights. Your attorney can help you with your visa and help you fight your case. There may be an alternative to deportation that you can work toward, so you can stay with your family.

Source: The Atlantic, "What Happens To A Child After A Parent Is Deported?," Emily Deruy, accessed March 09, 2017

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