Nearly 45,000 parents were deported in the first six months of this year, the Associated Press reports (via Yahoo News), according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Immigration lawyers say that — despite the ICE policy changes of supposedly deporting only criminals — they see families destroyed every day.
When he was 10 years old, Alex Molina of Stamford saw his mother Sandra Payes Chacon deported. She is the mother of two American citizens (Alex, now 11, and his brother, 8) and married to a Guatemalan, Rony Molina, who became an American citizen in 2009. Sandra was given the bad legal advice to return to Guatemala so Rony could sponsor her application to become a citizen because she was here illegally.
Her petition was denied. She then tried to enter illegally through Mexico with the help of a coyote, a person who smuggles illegal aliens in, who was paid $5000. It was for naught. As the AP reports, “… she was stopped at the border, detained in Arizona for two weeks, then deported in March 2011. ” Immigrants who are denied admission and try to re-enter the country are considered felons and a top priority for immediate removal.
“How can my country not allow a mother to be with her children, especially when they are so young and they need her,” Rony Molina asked in the article, “and especially when they are Americans?”
At least 5,100 U.S. citizen children in 22 states live in foster care, according to an estimate by the Applied Research Center, a New York-based advocacy organization, which first reported on such cases last year. And an unknown number of those children are being put up for adoption against the wishes of their parents, who, once deported, are often helpless to fight when a U.S. judge decides that their children are better off here.
As the article reports, not every one sees a problem with these situations. “Yes, these are sad stories,” says Bob Dane, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates tougher enforcement against illegal immigration. “But these parents have taken a reckless gamble with their children’s future by sneaking into the country illegally, knowing they could be deported. Not to deport them, gives them the ultimate bonus package, and creates an incentive for others to do the same thing.”