Losing a Parent to Deportation Has Devastating Effects on US Citizen Children

Topping the list of issues for U.S. presidential candidate, Donald Trump, is America’s roughly 11.3 million undocumented immigrants.  Trump has vowed to deport all of them.  New research shows the scary effects of immigrant children losing their parents to deportation.  

The Obama administration deported about 3.7 million people between 2009 and 2013.  According to the Migration Policy Institute, there are several hundred thousand children that have either one or no parents in America, as a direct result of deportation.  In addition, there are currently there are about 5.3 million children living with undocumented parents.  Deportation has slowed because of a shift of emphasis toward deporting those that have actually committed crimes in the United States.   

Recent reports were released which detail how children have been affected by deportations.  The reports were paid for by the Urban Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and by the Migration Policy Institute.  

The first report, shows that the effects of losing a parent to deportation is strikingly similar to the effects of losing a parent to prison.  These effects include: homelessness, poor performance in school, along with many devastating psychological problems.  Another report revealed that family income dropped significantly following deportation and roughly twenty-five percent of the families reported going hungry.  

The authors of the second report said, “Study participants reported that children refused to eat, pulled out their hair, or had persistent stomachaches or headaches.  Others turned to more self-destructive outlets such as cutting themselves or abusing substances.”

In regards to effects on academic performance, a grandmother had this to say about her grandson, “He was hardworking, he was doing well in school.  But after all that, he would not go to school, he wouldn’t work, he just sleeps during the day and is out at night. He’s on a bad path now, he’s always going to court.”

Depression also has grave effects on spouses of people that are deported.  Many times, these spouses were not primary providers for their family and now face trouble doing so.  Immigrant parents are afraid of applying for social welfare benefits even when their children are U.S. citizens.  

Many child welfare agencies aren’t equipped to work with custody issues that arise from deportation.