With reports spreading of arrests and raids by Homeland Security’s Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agency concerns are being raised about the impact on children. According to the PEW Research Center, in 2012 there were 4.5 million children younger than 18 years living with at least one undocumented parents. If both parents or a single parent is arrested what happens to the citizen children left behind?
Over the weekend there were growing reports of these raids across the country including New York City where ICE acknowledged that 40 individuals were arrested. Specifics on the circumstances surrounding these individuals have not been released but under the Obama Administration arrests were focused on serious criminal behavior. It is less clear who is being targeted by these new raids but they appear to be broader in their targeting.
In response the New York Immigration Coalition released a statement Sunday condemning the reported ICE operations in NYC:
“We are horrified and angered by the ICE raids and activity in the greater New York area that has led to the arrest and detainment of 40 people. Shame on ICE for putting New York’s immigrant communities – four million strong – in a state of panic. These arrests do nothing but tear families apart, hobble our economies, and corrode the bonds of trust that tie our communities together – all under the false pretense of “public safety.”
The raids could potentially impacting the child welfare system that is now experiencing increases in foster care numbers due to the increased use of opioids, these actions could add to that total. The larger issue will be what happens to citizen children permanently separated from their parents.