A Broken System

07.07.142:48 PM ET

Deported Parents Have Children, Too

Some immigrant parents find that arranging an American guardian for their children is the safest way to protect their child’s citizenship.

“A Band-Aid,” is how Nora Sandigo referred to herself in The Washington Post. “All I can do is hold back some of the bleeding,” she said. “There is no way I can give 812 children the love and attention they need, but it has to be me. The system is broken. Nobody else is taking responsibility for them.” She is referring to the U.S. immigration system and, specifically, a growing problem of immigration enforcement. A quarter of people deported from the United States are parents of U.S.-citizen minors – meaning more than 100,000 American children lose a parent to deportation each year. A few thousand of those children lose both parents. While many children leave the country with their parents, 17 are referred to the U.S. foster-care system every day. In an attempt to plan ahead, some parents seek out citizens who can be guardians for their children. For these children, the arrangement means that they can stay in the country where they were born, even if their parents are deported, without fear of being taken into state custody themselves. For the parents, it means making the heart-breaking decision to sign away rights to their children.