Washington D.C.: Chairman Charles A. Gonzalez (TX 20), Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (IL 16), Chair of the CHC Immigration Task Force and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA 34) released the following statements in response to an Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) Report regarding the annual deportation of parents of U.S. citizens. The Fiscal Year 2011 Second Semi-Annual Deportation of Parents of U.S.-Born Citizens Report reveals that more than 46,000 parents of U.S. children were deported in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2011.
“To force hardship on American families is contrary with the ideals and standards of our country. Those who commit violent crimes should be a priority for deportation, but it’s misguided to deport parents who are simply living in the United States as a part of a mixed-status family. Some of those deported were here to raise their American children and to work for American employers, as they comprise a labor pool that is vital to many American businesses,” said CHC Chairman Charles Gonzalez.
“I urge ICE to use its policy of prosecutorial discretion to prioritize deportation proceedings and then deport individuals that pose a danger to our communities, which is the wisest use of limited resources and in our economic best interest.”
“Thousands of federal employees go to work each morning with the job of taking parents away from their U.S. citizen children and breaking up peaceful, productive American families. It is a tragedy. The President’s policy of sparing long-time residents from deportation so that we can concentrate our resources on removing serious criminals needs to be fully implemented and followed. We are putting our future at risk every day that we delay serious reform and continue shoveling more good people into deportation and their children into foster care,” said Rep. Gutierrez.
“This report is the latest example of the terrible human toll our broken immigration system is taking on families. Tearing families apart like this is inhumane and completely unacceptable,” said Rep. Roybal-Allard. “We can’t continue to claim to value families while deporting parents in the tens of thousands. This must stop,” Roybal-Allard added.
These deportations have real social and economic costs. According to a 2011 report by the Applied Research Center, more than 5,000 children living in foster care have parents who were detained or deported from the United States.
ICE is in the process of implementing a new prosecutorial discretion policy which takes into account family ties in making deportation decisions.
“I believe it is critical that the new guidelines are interpreted as generously as possible by agency officials to prevent even more families from being torn apart,” said Rep. Roybal-Allard.