'Are We There Yet'? Immigration Reform for Children Left Behind
31 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2014 Last revised: 18 May 2015
Date Written: January 16, 2014
Today, more than 5,000 children are living in foster care as a result of immigration enforcement procedures that separate immigrant families. While these children remain largely invisible in the affairs of state politics, they are the principal casualties of an immigration system that prioritizes detention and removal over family unification. These children may represent their parents’ aspirations and hopes for a better life, yet, they have also become key actors in the struggle for comprehensive immigration reform. The journey for immigration reform in the United States, while not equivalent to a family journey, is a dramatically strenuous and conflictive process for children who have been left behind by deported parents. The important question is, are we there yet? This article argues that it may be possible to reach a much-needed solution to the immigration question through proposed changes in family immigration policy. A greater focus on children and their best interests within the context of immigration reform may offer necessary relief to immigrant families and a viable solution for state actors charged with enforcing immigration laws.
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