Immigration Bill Includes Protections for Families Broken Up by Deportation

The bill takes some important steps to reunite families and stop children of deportees from entering foster care, a problem uncovered in a Colorlines investigation.

By Seth Freed Wessler Apr 17, 2013

The [comprehensive immigration reform bill](, released early this morning by a group of eight Senators, both Republicans and Democrats, includes provisions to reunite families separated by immigration detention and deportation. It also includes provisions to keep U.S. citizen children of deported parents from languishing in foster care, a problem Colorlines has documented, and to protect deportees from losing parental rights. Since 2011, has reported on the the fallout of immigration enforcement on families and children. An investigation we released in late 2011 found there are [thousands of children stuck in foster care]( with deported parents. Data I obtained in December revealed that approximately about 23 percent of deportees have U.S. citizen children. [Over 200,000 moms and dads]( of U.S. citizens were removed in a period of just over two years, according to government records. An unknown number of deportees leave their partners or parents behind. I [reported on Monday ]( the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act would allow some deported immigrants with U.S. citizen children, parents or spouses to petition to return to the United States and apply for the Registered Provisional Immigrant visa–the 10 year visa that leads to a green card. That’s the case, though the path back may not be an easy one. The bill also includes protections so that children of deportees are not stuck in foster care in the future.