Implications of Immigration Enforcement Activities for the Well-Being of Children in Immigrant Families: A Review of the Literature
Rising immigration enforcement in the U.S. interior over the past decade increased the chances that the estimated 5.3 million children living with unauthorized immigrant parents, the vast majority of them born in the United States, could experience the deportation of a parent.
This MPI-Urban Institute report reviews the evidence on the impacts of parental deportation on children, and on their needs for health and social services. The literature mostly dates from a period of peak enforcement: 2009 through 2013, when there were nearly 4 million deportations from the United States. While data on parental removals during this period are limited, perhaps half a million were of parents of U.S.-citizen children.
The economic and social instability that generally accompanies unauthorized status is further aggravated for children with a parent’s deportation, with effects including psychological trauma, material hardship, residential instability, family dissolution, increased use of public benefits, and, among boys, aggression. At the extreme end, some families became permanently separated as parents lose custody of or contact with their children.
Impacts of Parental Detention and Deportation on Children
Broad Impacts on a Large Segment of the Hispanic Child Population
Impacts on Children of Unauthorized Immigrants
Short-Term Impacts of Parental Apprehension, Detention, and Deportation
Long-Term Impacts of Parental Apprehension, Detention, and Deportation
Children Leaving the United States
Family Dissolution and Child Welfare System Involvement
Meeting the Needs of Children with Detained and Deporated Parents
Needs of Children in the Child Welfare System
Food, Shelter, Health Care, and Other Basic Needs
Mental Health Care Needs
Supporting Children in Public Schools and Early Education Programs
U.S. Immigration Enforcement and Changes in the Composition of Unauthorized Populations
Unauthorized Population at Risk for Deportation
Discretion in Deporting Parents
State and Local Partnerships in Immigration Enforcement
Deportation of Returning Parents Apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico Border
Unanswered Questions and Avenues for Future Research