Trending
MOST READ
SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

News: Data and records obtained by the Current show that between January 1, 2013, and early October of this year the San Antonio... By Alexa Garcia-Ditta and Elaine Wolff 10/22/2014
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
Alamo Ice House Brings Hill Country to Downtown

Alamo Ice House Brings Hill Country to Downtown

Food & Drink: There was a special kind of draw at Alamo Ice House on a recent Tuesday evening. A handful of weeks after opening its... By Jessica Elizarraras 10/22/2014
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
6 Sinfully Good Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in SA

6 Sinfully Good Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in SA

Food & Drink: Cheesy Jane’s. Multiple locations, cheesyjanes.com. If the name is any indicator, this San Antonio staple doesn’t mess around when it comes to... By Tommie Ethington 10/22/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Migrant Nation

ICE policies leave overburdened foster-care system in their wake

Photo: , License: N/A


A sustained federal crackdown made 2011 a banner year for deportations. A record 397,000 undocumented immigrants were sent packing. And while the Obama administration cheers that more than half of those deported were convicted of crimes, advocates warn of a troubling by-product of rising immigration enforcement: children left behind as natural-born citizens absorbed by the foster-care system.

The New York-based advocacy group Applied Research Center estimates that some 5,100 U.S. citizen children sit in foster care across the country because of undocumented parents caught in an expanding web of immigration enforcement. Should enforcement march ahead at the same clip without rules to keep families intact, the number of children thrown into state custody could triple in coming years, the group warns. "As long as there's this commitment to deporting record numbers of people, there are going to be collateral effects, and this is one of the most disturbing ones we've found," said Seth Freed Wessler, chief researcher and author of ARC's new "Shattered Families" report.

The Texas borderlands see the highest concentrations of such kids stuck in foster limbo. A full 7.5 percent of children in foster care in El Paso have lost their parents to immigration enforcement, while in the Rio Grande Valley children of undocumented parents account for 7.8 percent of those in foster care. It is estimated that nearly one in four deported immigrants leave behind U.S. citizen children. The report notes at least 20 other states where families are more likely to be separated by ICE thanks to local immigration enforcement tools, like the fingerprint sharing network Secure Communities and 287(g) agreements that turn local cops into immigration officers.

While GOP hardliners have openly pushed to change the 14th Amendment, and the birthright citizenship it guarantees, ICE officials claim to be addressing the issue. This summer agency Director John Morton sent a memo agency-wide laying out over two dozen factors agents and lawyers should consider when looking at deportation, like whether the immigrant was brought into the country as a child or whether they have citizen children, angering immigration hawks and even sparking Texas GOP Congressman Lamar Smith's own crusade to end prosecutorial discretion (See "Lamar Smith's push to HALT the DREAM Act," August 17, 2011). DHS secretary Janet Napolitano announced this summer a systematic review of all 300,000 standing deportation cases, saying the department hoped to close those that don't meet the administration's priority of deporting criminal immigrants.

But that doesn't seem to be happening. While activists have managed to push ICE to drop cases against high-profile DREAM Act-ers, like San Antonio's own Benita Veliz, spared this month after a two-year battle with authorities, advocates charge that cases that fit the Obama administration's profile, like those with deep family ties in the U.S., continue to sail through. The American Immigration Lawyers Association last week made its own assessment, saying the new mandate is unevenly applied across the country, creating confusion within ICE and immigrant communities. In fact, the association says that not only have most ICE offices not implemented the new standards but that many are actively resisting them.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus