The neglect of citizen children in US immigration policy

A new study by Dorsey and Whitney, LLP for the Urban Institute raises several issues with regard to the impact of immigration policy on immigrant- and citizen-children of immigrants in the US.

Severing a Lifeline: The Neglect of Citizen Children in America’s Immigration Enforcement Policy begins with the startling statistic that of the 5 million “illegal immigrants” in the United States, 3 million are actually children citizens, born in the USA.

From the executive summary:

“US citizen children are the victims of immigration laws that are out of step with the manner in which we address child welfare issues in other areas of the law. The “best interests” of the child find little or no hearing in the process of detaining and deporting undocumented parents. The hard suffered by the citizen child who loses a parent to deportation, or the citizen child who loses his or her prospective future in the United States in the interests of maintaining family unity, is thus the natural consequence of systemic shortcomings in US immigration law and policy.

“The primary goal of this report is to reveal, and to prompt meaningful and reasoned debate regarding, the deficiencies in this country’s immigration laws and enforcement scheme relative to the interests of our citizen children”.

The study includes a series of comprehensive recommendations for reform.