Immigration Activists Protest Parental Deportation
Dozens protesters gathered during a Women's Coalition Conference in Downtown L.A. Monday to help bring attention to what they call is the government's "immorality" when it comes to deporting parents.
“We call on President Obama, ICE and the Republicans to implement changes immediately and end these inhumane and immoral immigration laws,” stated a press release issued by the Woman Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights.
Between January and June, the U.S. deported more than 46,000 parents whose children are American citizens, according to newly released Department of Homeland Security figures. A year-long national investigation showed that about 5,100 of these children are now in foster care. Applied Research Center analysts expect that number to skyrocket to 15,000 in the next five years if immigration policy isn’t reformed.
“Not only have I seen families destroyed and children left without mothers, but our system of justice is being destroyed with all these detentions and deportations,” said Andrea Garcia, a Los Angeles immigration attorney who attended the press conference to protect the rights of detained immigrants.
“Our courts cannot handle it. Our detention centers do not have enough space for people. And we’re just pumping more and more money into detaining and deporting people who are not criminals.”
Even more disconcerting than the number of parents who are being deported is the increase this number has seen in the past few years. Between 1998 and 2007, Department of Homeland Security data showed that only 8 percent of all deportations accounted for parents of U.S. citizen-children. The latest figures – which prompted Monday’s demonstration – revealed that more than 22 percent of the immigrants deported in the first half of this year left behind American-born children.
These numbers are even higher in counties such as Los Angeles, where the visibly diverse population has resulted in an endless selection of restaurants – as well as harsher consequences of the Obama Administration’s immigration policy.
One in every 16 children in LA’s child welfare system was separated from detained or deported parents, according to ARC research.
However, Cecilia Muñoz, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and one of President Obama’s top immigration advisors, defended the increase in parental deportation rates as an inevitable outcome of illegal immigration.
“At the end of the day, when you have immigration law that’s broken… some of these things are going to happen,” said Muñoz in a “Frontline” episode aired last month on PBS.
“Even if the law is executed with perfection, there will be parents separated from their children. It is a result of having a broken system of laws.”
The Woman Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights protest is scheduled to take place Nov. 24 at 10 a.m. Demonstrators will march from the intersection of South Broadway and Olympic Blvd to the Federal Building at 300 N. Los Angeles Street.