Two Washington-based organizations have issued an analysis of the complex intersection of family and juvenile court proceedings with federal immigration enforcement, replete with a long list of recommendations for limiting the impact of the latter on the former.
“Opening the door to the consideration of the collateral consequences of immigration status creates a tremendous challenge for immigrants to combat stereotypes and assumptions,” says Children in Harm’s Way, published jointly by The Sentencing Project and First Focus. “But addressing these difficult issues head on is absolutely necessary to ensure that the complications of immigration law in the lives of children and families are acknowledged.”
The report is really a collection of six separate essays that delve into most of the central issues concerning the nexus of local dependency, delinquency courts and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Among them:
- How children are treated when their sole caregiver is set for deportation.
- The inappropriate use of immigration status as grounds to place a child in foster care.
- The difficult position of family courts to conduct its business when parents are placed in far-flung ICE detention centers.
- The use of juvenile detention or confinement as a point of inquiry about a juvenile’s immigration standing.
Each essay carries a set of recommendations, and one echoed by a number of authors is for ICE to curb the use of detention before deportation for parents. Parents set for possible deportation are often held far away from where they lived with their children, thus preventing parents from participating in court dates or from living up to family reunification plans.
Other recommendations include suspension of Secure Communities, a federal program that depends on partnerships with local law enforcement to identify non-citizens, and ensuring that juveniles understand their rights when discussing immigration status, and a ban on referrals to ICE by juvenile justice agencies.
Click here to read the report.