Workplace Immigration Raids Affect Hispanic Children's Mental Health
Children of parents arrested in workplace immigration raids facemental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder,separation anxiety and depression, according to a report released onWednesday and commissioned by the National Council of La Raza, the AP/Google.com reports.
The report, conducted by the Urban Institute,analyzed the effects of recent workplace raids in Greeley, Colo.; GrandIsland, Neb.; and New Bedford, Mass. During those raids, officialsarrested 900 suspected undocumented immigrants, and as a result, 500children unexpectedly lost communication with one or both parents(Garcia, AP/Google.com, 10/31). Most of the children were ages 10 oryounger, and two-thirds of the children were U.S. citizens, accordingto the report (Graham, Tulsa World,11/1). An estimated 3.1 million children who are U.S. citizens areliving with at least one undocumented immigrant parent, according to2006 Pew Hispanic Center data.
Accordingto the report, the situation left some children with unstablesupervision and caused stress and emotional trauma. The report foundthat most of the children affected had at least one parent to care forthem, but that parent often was unable to make decisions and haveaccess to his or her partner's money (AP/Google.com, 10/31). Inaddition, the parent and or family member caring for the children oftenwas reluctant to seek help out of fear of being deported themselves,the report said. Local systems sometimes end up caring for childrenseparated from an undocumented immigrant parent, according to thereport.
"There are consequences forchildren, and most of them are U.S. citizens," Rosa Maria Castaneda,research associate at the institute, said, adding, "That should be partof the consideration in the U.S. immigration enforcement efforts. Thechildren are lost in the process. The children's needs should beconsidered and weighed." She added, "I cannot see how it wouldn'tcreate a crisis" (Tulsa World, 11/1).
Tim Counts, spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement,said the agency makes an extra effort to ensure that children ofsuspects in raids are cared for, noting that in the wake of the raidsin Greeley, about 100 people were released for humanitarian reasons tocare for children. He added that the report "takes the bizarre positionthat ICE is somehow responsible for family disruption caused by parentswho make poor decisions. Law enforcement agencies across the nationarrest people who have children every day. Everyone understands thatparents are responsible for their actions and the resulting impact ontheir families" (AP/Google.com, 10/31).
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