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No One Should Lose Parental Rights, or Be Assaulted,
in the Name of “Enforcing the Law”
Everyone knows our nation’s immigration policies need to be fixed. But behind these failed policies are real human beings: those who make decisions about how to enforce the law, and those whose lives are affected by their decisions. Two disturbing stories from this week show how bad decisions at the hands of the bureaucracy can have extreme consequences for real people.
As La Opinión writes in an editorial on the case, “Romero was arrested on May 22, 2007 in an immigration raid at the poultry processing plant where she was working. At the time, her son was less than a year old. Romero was still in custody when the first judge in Jasper County found that she had “abandoned” her son due to failure to visit or maintain contact with him. This is not the first such case in the turbulent history of mass deportations of recent years in the United States. Studies by specialists have revealed that there is no consistency or coordination between the various federal, state and local agencies to ensure that parents arrested for not having papers can make decisions or even stay in contact with the children left behind. One estimate indicates that some 5000 children have been placed in foster care for this reason. This is an issue that needs to be urgently addressed. In the United States 5 million children, most of whom are citizens, have at least one undocumented parent. Continued family separations have an impact that goes beyond the obvious and affect society as a whole. Another outcome, in practice, is that of penalizing undocumented status with the loss of a child, and penalizing the child, who is innocent, with the loss of a father or mother. Such a penalty is excessive and illegal.”
According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, “We have to draw the line. No one should lose the right to be the parent of her son simply because she is in deportation proceedings. No one should be assaulted by the Border Patrol simply because she is an immigrant. I think we can all agree that things like this should not happen in America. Your status as an immigrant does not negate your status as a human being.”
Links to resources:
America’s Voice Education Fund — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.