Stories impacting San Diego's Latino Community

Deportee Children Left Behind

Foster care is the only option for many

By Diana Guevara
|  Tuesday, Jan 31, 2012  |  Updated 2:10 PM PDT
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Deportee Children Left Behind

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Thousands of children are being left to languish in the U.S. foster care system after their parents are deported. That is according to a new report released by the Applied Research Center, a racial justice think tank.

Christian Ramirez with the American Friends Service Committee says the New York-based advocacy organization asked the AFCS to help gather information on what happens to children whose parents are detained and deported by immigration enforcement.

“We are seeing at least 5,000 U.S.-born children end up in foster care,” says Ramirez.
According to the report's manually collected government data, those children are prevented from reuniting with their parents.

“We are seeing what we have thought was a big problem that a lot of parents ended up in their home countries not knowing who was taking care of their kids in the United States,” says Ramirez.

“It is a reality that we see children that are left behind when their parents are deported,” says Margo Fudge with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Office.

She says while they are actually seeing a decrease in the number of foster cases, they do not keep track on a case by case basis. However, the county does employ an international liaison to work with Mexican authorities to try to reunite families in some instances.

“Oftentimes children that are in foster care because their parents have been deported have family in Mexico, and that would be an option for us to look to place them in Mexico with family members,” says Fudge.

But as the number of deportations continues to grow, Ramirez says that may not always be an option.

“Unless our political leaders really are committed to resolving this issue more and more children will end up in foster care instead of being with their parents."

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