Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


88,000 US citizen children lost lawful immigrant parent to deportion

Children left behind suffer psychological, behavioral problems

The United States government has deported the lawful immigrant parents of nearly 88,000 citizen children in just a decade, according to a new report released today from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Davis law schools.

The report, "In the Child's Best Interest?," finds that forced removal of lawful permanent resident parents (or green card holders) convicted of relatively minor crimes can lead to psychological harm, behavioral changes, and disruptions in the health and education of tens of thousands of citizen children.

The report, based primarily on new analysis of data provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is a joint project of the International Human Rights Law Clinic and the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law; and the Immigration Law Clinic at the University of California, Davis, School of Law.

Drastic revisions to U.S. immigration laws in 1996 have led to large numbers of deported lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who now make up nearly 10 percent of immigrants deported from the U.S. More than 68 percent of this group is deported for minor crimes, including driving under the influence, simple assault, and non-violent drug offenses.

The revised immigration laws now severely restrict the ability of judges to consider the impact of deportation on children. In the Child's Best Interest? recommends restoring judicial discretion in all cases involving the deportation of LPRs with U.S. citizen children.

"As Congress considers immigration reform, it's time to focus on how the current system tears apart families and threatens the health and education of tens of thousands of children," said Aarti Kohli, director of immigration policy at Berkeley Law's Warren Institute. "This report makes a strong case for restoring judicial discretion so immigration judges can weigh the best interests of children when deciding whether to deport a parent."

The report found that, in the decade between April 1997 and August 2007, the U.S. deported nearly 88,000 lawful permanent residents for mostly minor criminal convictions. These deported legal residents had lived in the U.S. an average of 10 years, and more half of them had at least one child living at home. Approximately 50 percent of the children were under the age of 5 when their parent was deported.

In 1996, Congress also significantly broadened the category of crimes considered an "aggravated felony." Although this category initially included only the most serious offenses, it now includes non-violent theft and drug offenses, forgery, and other minor offenses, many of which may not even be felonies under criminal law. Lawful permanent residents convicted of an aggravated felony are now subject to mandatory deportation and other severe immigration consequences.

"Parents who are deported on the basis of criminal convictions are being punished twice for the same mistakes," said Raha Jorjani, clinical professor at the Immigration Law Clinic at UC Davis. "Even after successfully completing their criminal sentences, they are subject to penalties within the immigration system—and risk losing their families. It's often the children in these families that suffer the most. This nation should take into consideration the impact on families of uprooting individuals with such strong ties to the U.S."

Families interviewed for the study reported negative health impacts, such as increased depression, sleeplessness, and anxiety. Children also reported plummeting grades, increased behavioral problems, and the urge to drop out of school to help support the family.

The study compares U.S. immigration policy to international standards that more adequately address potential family separations in deportation hearings.

"The rights to health and education are firmly entrenched in international human rights law, and nearly every major human rights treaty recognizes the need for special protection of children," said Laurel Fletcher, director of the International Human Rights Law Clinic at Berkeley Law. "The U.S. should consider revising its policy to mirror European human rights standards, which permit judges to balance a nation's security interest with the best interests of the child when considering deporting a parent."

In the Child's Best Interest? makes a number of recommendations to U.S. policymakers, which include:

restoring judicial discretion in cases involving the deportation of lawful permanent residents who have U.S. citizen children;
establishing clear judicial guidelines in these family deportation cases;
reverting to the pre-1996 definition of "aggravated felony";
collecting data on U.S. citizen children of deported lawful immigrant parents to gain fuller understanding of impact of deportation laws.

Co-authors of the study include J.D. candidates and research analysts at UC Berkeley School of Law and UC Davis School of Law.

About the Clinics

International Human Rights Law Clinic, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law: The International Human Rights Law Clinic (IHRLC) implements innovative human rights projects to advance the struggle for justice on behalf of individuals and marginalized communities through research, advocacy, and policy development. The clinic employs an interdisciplinary model that leverages the intellectual capital of the university to provide innovative solutions to emerging human rights issues and develops collaborative partnerships with researchers, scholars, and human rights activists worldwide. Students are integral to all phases of the IHRLC's work and acquire unparalleled experience employing strategies to address the most urgent human rights issues of our day. For more information, visit:

Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law: The Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity (Warren Institute) is a multi- disciplinary, collaborative venture to produce research, policy reforms, and curricular innovation on issues of racial and ethnic justice in California and the nation. The institute's mission is to engage the most difficult topics in a wide range of legal and policy subject areas, providing valuable intellectual capital to public and private sector leaders, the media, and the general public, while advancing scholarly understanding. Central to its methods are concerted efforts to build bridges connecting research, civic action, and policy debate so that each informs the other, while preserving the independence, quality and credibility of the academic enterprise. For more information, please visit:

Immigration Law Clinic, University of California, Davis, School of Law: The Immigration Law Clinic (ILC) provides legal representation to indigent non-citizens in removal proceedings before U.S. Immigration Courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and federal courts, including the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The ILC provides this necessary service to Northern California's low-income immigrant communities while enabling students to gain practical, real-world experience. ILC students take on all major aspects of litigation, including interviewing clients and witnesses, preparing legal briefs, drafting pleadings and motions, and arguing complex legal issues. The ILC regularly conducts naturalization and other workshops in the community. Responding to the impact of increased collaboration between criminal and immigration enforcement agencies, the ILC has been at the forefront of indigent detention and deportation defense.

Pamela Wu | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Children Diversity Management Ethnicity Human vaccine ILC Immigration LPRs human rights

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>