US Children with Parents in Deportation Proceedings

  • Randy CappsEmail author
  • Ajay Chaudry
  • Juan Manuel Pedroza
  • Rosa Maria Castañeda
  • Robert Santos
  • Molly M. Scott
Part of the Immigrants and Minorities, Politics and Policy book series (IMPP)


While policy makers and researchers generally focus on the effects of deportation on crime rates and deportees, the effects of parental deportation and detention on children are often overlooked. This chapter seeks to fill this gap, finding that parental arrest often leads to loss of earnings, dependence on public assistance and charity, and increased family hardship. In addition, the resulting separation results in significant trauma and stress for both children and parents. Using in-depth interviews conducted over 2 years, the authors were able to track children and parents during the immediate and longer-term aftermath of a workplace raid or other parental arrest. They found that detained migrant parents reported increased stress, anxiety, and mental health challenges, as well as increased physical health challenges. Parents also reported that a majority of children in the study exhibited important behavioral changes. It is clear that current US immigration policies have substantial consequences for families with children, which will require large-scale policy changes in order to ameliorate these effects on immigrant children, many of who are US citizens.


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Obama Administration Unauthorized Immigrant Mental Health Challenge Immigration Enforcement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Anderson, Sue Ann. ed. 1990. Core indicators of nutritional state for difficult to sample populations. The Journal of Nutrition 120: 1557–1600.Google Scholar
  2. Capps, Randy, Rosa Maria Castañeda, Ajay Chaudry, and Robert Santos. 2007. Paying the price: The impact of immigration raids on America’s children. Washington, DC: National Council of La Raza.
  3. Capps, Randy, Marc R. Rosenbaum, Cristina Rodríguez, and Muzaffar Chishti. 2011. Delegation and divergence: A study of 287(g) state and local immigration enforcement. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute.
  4. Chaudry, Ajay, Randy Capps, Juan Manuel Pedroza, Rosa Maria Castañeda, Robert Santos, and Molly M. Scott. 2010. Facing our future: Children in the aftermath of immigration enforcement. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.
  5. Coleman-Jensen, Alisha, Mark Nord, Margaret Andrews, and Steven Carlson. 2011. Household food security in the United States in 2010 (ERR-125). Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  6. Farias, Cristian. 2015. “Supreme Court Hands Obama Small But Important Win In Immigration Fight.” The Huffington Post, December 1.
  7. Lopez, Mark Hugo, Rich Morin, and Paul Taylor. 2010. Illegal immigration backlash worries, Divides Latinos. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center. Scholar
  8. Morton, John. 2011. Exercising prosecutorial discretion consistent with the civil immigration enforcement priorities of the Agency for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Aliens (Policy Number 10075, Memorandum for All Field Officers, All Special Agents in Charge, All Chief Counsel). Washington, DC: June 17.
  9. Johnson, Jeh Charles. 2014. Policies for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants (Memorandum for Thomas S. Winkowski, Acting Director U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; R. Gil Kerlikowske, Commissioner U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Leon Rodriguez, Director U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; and Alan D. Bersin, Acting Assistant Secretary for Policy. Washington, DC: November 20.
  10. Passel, Jeffrey S., and D’Vera Cohn. 2010. Unauthorized immigrant population: National and state trends. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center.
  11. US Citizenship and Immigration Services. 2015a. “Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).” Washington, DC: USCIS. Updated August 3.
  12. ______. 2015b. “Number of I-821D,Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals by Fiscal Year, Quarter, Intake, Biometrics and Case Status: 2012-2015 (September 30).” Washington, DC: USCIS.
  13. US Congress. 1996. Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), Public Law 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009-546.Google Scholar
  14. US Department of Homeland Security. 2009. Removals involving illegal alien parents of United States citizen children (OIG-09-15). Washington, DC: DHS, Office of Inspector General.
  15. ———. 2010. The performance of 287(g) agreements, OIG-10-63. Washington, DC: DHS, Office of Inspector General.
  16. ______. 2014. “Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2013 Enforcement Actions.” (Table 39 Aliens Returned or Removed: Fys 1892 to 2013). Washington, DC: DHS.
  17. US Government Accountability Office (GAO). 2009. Immigration enforcement: Better controls needed over program authorizing state and local enforcement of federal immigration laws (GAO-09-109). Washington, DC: GAO.
  18. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 2013. Facilitating Parental Interests in the Course of Civil Immigration Activities. Policy 11064.1. Washington, DC: ICE: 2013.
  19. ______. 2015. “Priority Enforcement Program.” Washington, DC: ICE:
  20. Wessler, Seth. 2012. “Primary Data: Deportations of Parents of U.S. Citizen Kids.” Colorlines, December 17. New York: Applied Research Center.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Randy Capps
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ajay Chaudry
    • 2
  • Juan Manuel Pedroza
    • 3
  • Rosa Maria Castañeda
    • 4
  • Robert Santos
    • 5
  • Molly M. Scott
    • 5
  1. 1.Migration Policy InstituteWashington, DCUSA
  2. 2.Visiting Scholar, Institute for Human Development and Social Change & Senior FellowRobert F. Wagner Graduate School for Public Service New York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of SociologyStanford UniversityCaliforniaUSA
  4. 4.The Annie E. Casey FoundationMarylandUSA
  5. 5.Urban InstituteWashingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations