Beyond Status: Seeing the Whole Child
Evaluation & Program Plan, Vol. 33, No. 281, 2010
23 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2011
Date Written: August 26, 2011
Competing values underlie U.S. immigration law and child welfare law. Immigration law often operates in ways that intentionally hinder family unity, which in the child welfare context enjoys tremendous constitutional protection. Despite the U.S. immigration system’s exceptional disregard for family unity and the best interests of the child, immigration status can become an issue in many contexts outside of immigration proceedings, from state intervention through child protection agencies to state court decisions in parent custody disputes. Understanding the ways in which immigration and nationality law devalue children’s best interests and fail to recognize all family structures, gives further reason to exhibit caution in mixing immigration and child welfare policy. When creating policy or making decisions that impact immigrant children and their families, it is vitally important that decisionmakers divorce themselves from their own assumptions and misapprehensions about immigration and look beyond status, if they wish to serve the interests of immigrant children and their families.
Keywords: immigration law, immigration policy, child welfare law, child welfare policy
JEL Classification: J12, J13, K39, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation