The Obama administration has issued a new directive for immigration authorities who put immigrants in detention. The new directive states that immigration authorities should use discretion when detaining undocumented immigrants who have children.
The new policy was issued to address the growing problem of minor children living in the United States with no one to care for them because their parents were detained or deported by immigration authorities. Experts estimate that 200,000 undocumented immigrants with minor children were deported between 2010 and 2012.
Reports by the Applied Research Center show that in 2011, over 5,000 children of undocumented immigrants were living in foster care after their parents were detained or deported. The center also reported that the problem would only increase, and that by 2016, 15,000 more children would be in foster care if parents continue to be detained and deported under current immigration policies.
Many parents taken into custody by immigration officials are not allowed to call their children or other adults to tell them about their detention. This leaves many children wondering what happened to their parents when they are taken by child welfare authorities and placed into foster care.
The new policy says that immigration authorities should consider alternatives to detention for immigrants with minor children to prevent splitting up the family and leaving their children to live in foster care. It calls for detained immigrants to remain involved with their children and to keep detained parents close to their children instead of holding them in a different state.
Advocates for immigration reform said the new directive is a step in the right direction to keep these families together and to keep minor immigrants out of foster care. However, advocates said that there are still many issues that need to be fixed to keep immigrants together with their families.
The new policy is aimed at helping undocumented immigrants with children and will hopefully prevent more children from being sent to foster care in the future.
Source: FOX News Latino, "New Obama Directive Aims to Stop Detention Of Undocumented Parents with Minor Children," Elizabeth Llorente, Aug. 26, 2013