WASHINGTON – More than 100,000 parents whose children are U.S. citizens were deported over the decade that ended in 2007, a Department of Homeland Security’s investigation has found.
The parents were removed from the country on immigration violations or because they had committed crimes. The removals of the 108,434 parents were among the approximately 2.2 million carried out by immigration officials between 1998 and 2007, Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner said in a report made public Friday.
“I am saddened, but not surprised to learn that our government, in its harsh anti-immigrant stance, has split hundreds of thousands of families apart over the past decade,” said Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y.
Serrano serves on the House Appropriations Committee’s panel that helps decide how much money is provided to the Homeland Security Department each year. He has filed a bill, the Child Citizen Protection Act, that would allow immigration judges to consider whether immigrants have children who are U.S. citizens when making deportation decisions.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez said the agency would review whether to establish procedures to ascertain whether deported immigrants have children under the age of 18 who are U.S. citizens. But she also noted the impact of giving reprieve to immigrants who have violated U.S. laws.