A whopping 72,410 parents with one or more U.S. citizen children were deported in 2013. That’s according to congressional reports obtained by the Huffington Post, where Elise Foley writes that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is defending the deportations:
ICE said 71,214 parents of U.S.-born children who were deported fit its priorities. The priorities include convicted criminals, people caught attempting to enter the country illegally, people who had returned after a previous deportation, and people who failed to report to ICE after a deportation order, according to the report. Because some people may have been deported more than once, the figures reflect total removals, not the exact number of individuals who were deported. The numbers do not include deportations of parents who fail to tell agents they have U.S.-born children, or parents whose foreign-born children are undocumented.
Nevertheless, Foley points that nearly 11,000 of those parents had no criminal conviction. Simple charges can also be criminalized by ICE as a pretext for deportation.