Creating Crisis: Immigration Raids and the Destabilization of Immigrant Families

29 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2008 Last revised: 6 Oct 2008

See all articles by David B. Thronson

David B. Thronson

Michigan State University College of Law

Date Written: July 6, 2008


Given the deep integration of immigrants into the fabric of the United States through families, the increasing use of raids in homes and workplaces as an immigration law enforcement strategy has profound and predictable impacts on children. While immigration raids formally are targeted at adults, they have ripple effects for children as an unmistakable message of loss and fear is communicated to immigrant families. This article reviews recent immigration raids and the traumatic impact they imposed on children. It then explores assumptions and misconceptions about the interaction of immigration law with child custody issues that contribute to the family chaos that often accompanies immigration raids, and argues that exploiting the fear of family separation should not be the lynchpin of immigration enforcement. The costs to children and families associated with immigration raids mandates rethinking of existing policies relating both to enforcement and to underlying immigration laws.

Keywords: immigration, family, children

JEL Classification: I30, K1, K10, K19, K3, K39, K4

Suggested Citation

Thronson, David B., Creating Crisis: Immigration Raids and the Destabilization of Immigrant Families (July 6, 2008). Wake Forest Law Review, Vol. 43, p. 391, 2008, UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-36, Available at SSRN:

David B. Thronson (Contact Author)

Michigan State University College of Law ( email )

648 North Shaw Lane
East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

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