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Parents can be deported, leaving children behind

When you read reports about deportations, they often focus on those being removed from the country and the reasons for that removal. What these reports don't always mention, at least not in depth, is that everyone in a family unit may not be deported at the same time. A parent can be picked up by authorities and sent away, while children are left behind.

Thinking that it can't possibly happen often, that it must just occur when there is some sort of oversight or mistake? One report, carried out by the Urban Institute and the National Journal -- a partner of The Atlantic -- looked at deportations between 2009 and 2013. It estimates that about 500,000 parents were deported, stranding about 500,000 children in the United States. These children are legal citizen, though their parents were not.

The report said this most often happened to fathers. Often, according to the report, these men are the primary breadwinners for their families. Deporting them not only leaves the children without their typical family structure, but also without their financial support.

What happens to them? It varies from case to case. Some end up living with friends. Others end up living with distant relatives. Some deal with anger, depression, and slipping grades in school. Others have trouble getting food stamps and the other benefits that they need without the main earning parent to provide for them.

For many parents, having their children legally recognized as citizens is the goal, and it does come with many advantages. But it's also important for those parents to know about their own rights, especially when a potential deportation threatens to tear the family apart.

Source: The Atlantic, "What Happens To A Child After A Parent Is Deported?," Emily DeRuy, accessed March 03, 2017

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