How Today's Immigration Enforcement Policies Impact Children, Families and Communities

Joanna Dreby
Date of Publication: 
August, 2012
Source Organization: 
Center for American Progress

The number of immigrants removed from the U.S. has steadily risen: from close to 190,000 deportations in 2001 to close to 400,000 per year in the past four years. Even more troubling, in the first six months of 2011 alone, more than 46,000 parents ofU.S. citizen children were deported.

With more than 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the country, these deportations affect a wide swath of the population, including the undocumented and the citizen alike. Undocumented immigrants do not live separate and walled-off lives from the documented, but instead live side by side in the same communities and in the same families. A total of 16.6 million people currently live in mixed-status families - with at least one unauthorized immigrant - and a third of U.S. citizen children of immigrants live in mixed-status families.

Additionally, having citizen children or even being the primary provider for U.S. citizen children is little help in removal proceedings: A recent report by the NYU School of Law's Immigrant Rights Clinic found that between 2005 and 2010, 87 percent of processed cases in New York City of individuals with citizen children resulted in deportation.

As individuals face the threat of deportation, ripple effects split families and entire communities apart.

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Dreby, J. (2012). How Today's Immigration Enforcement Policies Impact Children, Families and Communities: A View from the Ground. Center for American Progress: Washignton, D.C. Retrieved from