How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

A growing number of deported parents

Photo by Brian Auer/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A man in Playas de Tijuana, on the other side of the U.S.-Mexico border fence, September 2008

Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement


A post last week examined an attempt by some California lawmakers to keep the children of deported immigrants out of foster care, a growing problem as record deportations lead to more separated families. It briefly cited a new federal report on deported parents that had just begun trickling out to legislators.

The details of the report, now making the rounds, are impressive. During the period between January 1, 2011 and June 30, 2011, according to the report, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed 46,486 immigrants from the country who claimed to be the parent of at least one U.S. citizen child.

The seven-page report to Congress is part of a federal response to lawmakers seeking more data from ICE on deported parents of U.S. citizen children. Interestingly, it cites a Homeland Security estimate from 2009 that tallied more than 100,000 parents of U.S. citizen children removed between 1998 and 2007. Spread out over several years, that's a relatively low number in comparison. Since then, as deportations have increased, so naturally have the deportations of parents.

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New report counts fewer criminal deportations; ICE calls analysis 'misleading'

In October, the Obama administration released deportation statistics indicating that a majority of the record 396,906 people deported in fiscal year 2011, which ended Sept. 30, had criminal records. Nearly 55 percent were counted as being convicted of felonies or misdemeanors, with the percentage of criminal removals overall up 89 percent since 2008.

But the numbers in a new report based on immigration court records from Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) add up differently.

According to the TRAC analysis, of all the deportation proceedings initiated between July and September of this year in the nation's immigration courts, only 13.8 involved individuals charged with having engaged in criminal activity. The analysis also counts fewer removals involving criminal charges this year, as opposed to fiscal year 2010.

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